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Realizing a Dream: 50 Years After the March on Washington

August 27, 2013

Image: MLK at NYU

On February 10, 1961, the 32-year old Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a speech on the campus of New York University. Dr. King's speech, “The Future of Integration," advocated for civil rights and nonviolent protest for social change. He said, "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable ... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."

Dr. King’s call for nonviolent protest came to a head in 1963, when more than 200,000 dedicated individuals took part in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in the nation’s capital. On the eve of the 50 year anniversary, NYU Dialogues will host a panel to reflect on this historical event of the civil rights movement. Including policymakers, academics, and civil rights leaders, this discussion will explore how the March shaped and influenced societal and policy changes in the United States, and advanced civil rights. The conversation will also consider recent events, including the rulings of the Supreme Court on the Voting Rights Act and Defense of Marriage Act, and reaction to the verdict of the Trayvon Martin case.

Michaela Angela Davis

Michaela Angela Davis

Earl Fowlkes

Earl Fowlkes

Mandy Carter

Mandy Carter

Darnell L. Moore

Darnell L. Moore

Monroe France

Monroe France

Special Guests

Michaela Angela Davis

An expert cultural critic and writer, Michaela Angela Davis has been exploring the power of urban style, race, gender, and hip-hop for nearly two decades.

Having begun her career under the mentorship of Susan L. Taylor at the incredibly successful Essence, Davis went on to become founding fashion director at Vibe, and later editor-in-chief of Honey, a premiere magazine for 18 to 34-year-old urban women that, under her editorship, was the number one growing women’s title at the time.

Over the years, Davis became known for her insightful perceptions and seasoned opinions, penning fashion and culture commentary for publications in the US and worldwide. A stylist to such celebrity icons as Mary J. Blige, Oprah, Prince, and Donald Trump, Davis was often consulted on film and television sets for her fashion forward sense and intuition.

Her interests went further than fashion, however, as she maintained a close pulse on the developing urban culture and its roles and influence in society today. Perhaps best known for her work with Take Back the Music, Davis founded the initiative to promote the next generation of the hip-hop movement to focus on the musical value of the genre instead of the negative, often sexist attitudes that are so prevalent now.

A dynamic woman known for her insightful perceptions of popular culture, Davis developed MAD Free, a multi-platform conversation project dedicated to spurring and expanding the conversation about black women’s image, beauty, and power. Also devoted to several philanthropic efforts, she serves on the board of Black Girls Rock!, ImageNation, The Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School, and conducts her own monthly career-mentoring program.

Mandy Carter

Mandy Carter is a southern African-American lesbian social justice activist with a 45-year movement history of social, racial and lesbigaytrans justice organizing since 1968.

Ms. Carter is the National Coordinator of the Bayard Rustin 2013 Commemoration Project
of the National Black Justice Coalition. A national organizing effort to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate black gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. 2013 marks the 50th anniversary year of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom that he was the key coordinator of. Bayard Rustin was a tireless crusader for justice, a disciple of Gandhi, a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr. and architect of the historic 1963 March on Washington. Bayard Rustin dared to live as an openly gay man during his 60 years of activism.

Raised in two orphanages and a foster home for her first 18 years in upstate New York,
Ms. Carter attributes the influences of the Quaker-based American Friends Service Committee, the former Institute for the Study of Nonviolence, and the pacifist-based War Resisters League for her sustained multi-racial, multi-issue organizing.

But, it was specifically her participation in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired 1968 Poor People’s Campaign organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) that solidified her life-time commitment to nonviolence. The Poor People’s Campaign was the last project that Dr. King was working on before his assassination in Memphis, TN on April 4, 1968.

Ms. Carter helped co-found two ground breaking organizations. Southerners On New Ground (SONG) and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC). SONG, founded in 1993, is about building progressive movement across the South by developing models of organizing that connect race, class, culture, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity. Specifically, SONG integrates work against homophobia into freedom struggles in the South. She served as its Durham, North Carolina-based Executive Director from 2003-2005.

NBJC, founded in 2003, is a national civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. NBJC's mission is to end racism and homophobia. History was made at the 100th Anniversary Convention of the NAACP in 2009 when they rolled out their NAACP LGBT Equality Task Force. A new partnership of the NAACP and NBJC. The LGBT Equality Task Force is comprised of seven members, and is co-chaired by former NAACP National Chairman Julian Bond and California NAACP Chair Alice Huffman. Both co-chairs have track records as champions of LGBT rights.

Most recently, Ms. Carter was named to the Campus Pride 2012 “Hot List” that was chosen by students, campus professionals, and other Campus Pride constituents. The list is made up of the top twenty-five speakers, lecturers, and performers from around the country and serves as a reference for students, staff, and faculty who seek to bring LGBT positive voices to their campus. Campus Pride is the only national nonprofit organization for LGBT and ally college students and organizations, created by Executive Director Shane Windmeyer in 2001. The primary objective of our organization is to develop necessary resources, programs, and services to support LGBT and ally students on college campuses across the US. The Hot List was created in 2009 and is announced annually in October.

Ms. Carter was inducted into the International Federation of Black Prides- Black LGBT Hall of Fame during the January 2012 Martin Luther King Holiday. Established in 2011, the IFBP – Black LGBT Hall of Fame is to recognize the achievements of Black LGBT Men and Women and their contributions to the development of the LGBT community and African American community as a whole. Other inductees include Ernest Hopkins, Bishop Yvette Flunder, Yolo Akil, Kylar Broadus, and David Bridgeforth. Also elected posthumously are Bayard Rustin, Audre Lorde, Sylvester James, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Ruth Ellis, Billy Strayhorn, Mark Colomb, and Louis Bates.

Ms. Carter was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005 in order to recognize, make visible and celebrate the impressive and valuable, yet often invisible peace work of thousands of women around the world.

Ms. Carter was one of the five National Co-Chairs of Obama LGBT Pride, the LGBT grassroots infrastructure for Barack Obama’s historic 2008 presidential campaign. She had done the hard work of organizing grassroots networks, especially people of color throughout the South.

A partial list of groups that she has worked for and/or with includes:

  • Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, "1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005"
  • National Co-Chair, Obama LGBT Pride of Barack Obama for President
  • Advisory Committee, Obama Presidential Appointments Project
  • Co-Founder, Former Executive Director- Southerners On New Ground
  • Co-Founder, National Black Justice Coalition
  • Founding Board, International Federation of Black Prides
  • Life-Time Member, National Organization for Women
  • Life-Time Member, National Association of Black and White Men Together
  • LGBT Caucus, Black Caucus, Women’s Caucus of the Democratic National Committee
  • Staff, War Resisters League in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Durham, NC. 1969-1988
  • Campaign Manager, North Carolina Senate Vote ‘90. Harvey Gantt vs. Jesse Helms
  • Campaign Manager, People For the American Way Foundation/Florida NAACP’s Florida Vote/Equal Voice. Miami, FL. 2000
  • LGBT Speaker, 40th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, Lincoln Memorial, WDC

Ms. Carter lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Monroe France (Moderator)

Monroe France is the Assistant Vice President for Student Diversity/ Director of the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs at New York University. Prior to this role, Monroe was the Director of New York University’s LGBTQ Student Center.

Monroe has more than 15 years of experience as a professional trainer, consultant, strategist, and keynote presenter. He has created, implemented, and managed social justice and human rights education programs, nationally and internationally.

In 2004, Monroe co-founded Envision, a social justice training and consulting agency allows him the opportunity to do social justice and diversity trainings at institutions around the country. He has worked at Lambda Legal as the Supervising Community Educator for Lambda Legal. Before this position, he was the Education Training Manager for the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) where he was responsible for building GLSEN's national Training of Trainers Program on LGBT issues in schools and continues to serve with the organization as a National Senior Training Consultant. In both roles, France has created curricula and trained thousands of educators and K-12 upper-level administrators on how to make schools safer for every student, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity expression.

He has worked at Barnard College as an Area Director in Residence Life, The Ohio State University and Northern Arizona University. He has served on the board of directors for Queers for Economic Justice, has held the position of Board Secretary for Al-Fatiha LGBT Muslim Foundation and was the Coordinator of the People of Color Organizing Institute, a program of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force's Creating Change Conference.

Monroe’s expertise in anti-oppression and social justice work has led to regular radio interviews and presenting keynote addresses at national conferences and universities across the globe. Monroe is a facilitator for the Anti-Defamation League’s World of Difference Institute and is an adjunct faculty member in the NYU School of Social Work.

He received his BA in English from John Carroll University, completed a dual Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and Cultural Studies in Education from The Ohio State University and received a degree in merchandise management and marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2006. In 2010, Monroe was selected to participate in CREA’s 4th Gender, Sexuality and Rights Institute in Istanbul, Turkey and was a MADRE delegate to Chiapas, Mexico in 2004.

Monroe has received numerous honors and awards, including New York University’s 2012 Distinguished Administrator of the Year Award.

Earl Fowlkes

Earl Fowlkes serves as the President/CEO of the Center For Black Equity, Inc. (formerly the International Federation of Black Pride (IFBP). He founded the IFBP in 1999 ago as a coalition of Black Pride organizers the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and South Africa formed to promote a multinational network of LGBT Pride and community- based organizations. There are over thirty plus Black Pride events with over 450,000 attendees each year. In July, 2012, the IFBP Board of Directors voted to change the name of the organization to the Center For Black Equity which an expanded mission and membership base. The Center For Black Equity is the only Black LGBT international organization in the world.

Earl previously served fifteen years as the Executive Director of the DC Comprehensive AIDS Resources and Education Consortium (DC CARE Consortium) and Damien Ministries, organizations that provided services to Person Living With HIV/AIDS in Washington, DC. He was licensed as a Social Worker (New Jersey) and, has worked on HIV/AIDS and LGBT issues for twenty five years. Earl serves on seven non profit boards of directors and community advisor boards.

Earl attended Rutgers University with degrees in history/business. Earl resides in Washington, DC however remains a devoted to his hometown Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles and Flyers, and all things Pennsylvania.

Darnell L. Moore

Darnell L. Moore is an educator, activist, and cultural critic.

His writings have appeared in The Huffington Post,,, Mondoweiss, NewBlackMan (In Exile), Lambda Literary,, Arts & Understanding, Urban Cusp, Gawker, Mary: A Literary Quarterly, The Jersey Journal, Social Text: Emergences Blog, Uptown Social, Urban Times, Vice UK, Racialicious, Spare Change News, Guernica, Advocate Magazine, and the official blog of President Barack Obama. He is also a Managing Editor, along with Tamura Lomax and Monica Casper, of the The Feminist Wire.

His scholarly articles, which investigate the intersections of race, sexuality, and Black and Black Christian thought, can be found in Black Theology: An International Journal, Theology & Sexuality, Trans-scripts: An Interdisciplinary Online Journal in the Humanities and Social Sciences at UC Irvine, Transforming Anthropologies, The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, darkmatter: an international peer-review journal, Women Studies Quarterly (forthcoming) and Harvard Journal of African American Policy. He is the special guest editor of a special edition of a forthcoming special edition of The Journal of Homosexuality titled. “To be Black, Queer, and Christian: Critical Essays on race, sexuality, and religion.”

Darnell was a visiting fellow at Yale Divinity School (2007-2008) and a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University (2010-2011). He has also served as a Lecturer at Rutgers University and The City College of New York (CUNY). He is a board member of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) at CUNY and The Tobago Center for Study and Practice of Indigenous Spirituality. In January 2012, Moore visited Israel and the Palestinian territories as a member of the first US LGBTQ Delegation to Palestine organized by scholar/activist Sarah Schulman. And he is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Research on African American Studies at Columbia University.

He was appointed by Mayor Cory A. Booker as Inaugural Chair of the city of Newark, NJ LGBT Concerns Advisory Commission, the first of its kind in the state of New Jersey. He is the co-chair, with Beryl Satter, of the groundbreaking Queer Newark Oral History project--an archival project that seeks to chronicle the multifaceted lives of LGBTQ Newarkers.

He has given talks on race, gender, and sexual politics at various universities including Yale University, Birkbeck College at the University of London, Tufts University, University of Pennsylvania, New York University, City University of New York Graduate Center, Rutgers Law School, Rutgers University (New Brunswick and Newark), Carleton University (Ottawa, CA), Hunter College, Phillips Theological Seminary, Essex County College (Newark, NJ), Seton Hall University, Stanford University, and The Kennedy School at Harvard University, where Moore gave the inaugural Audre Lorde Human Rights Lecture Series talk.

Darnell was a recipient of the Tony Campolo Fellowship at Eastern University (2001-2004), the 2009 JanHerman Venker Award from the Circle of Friends, the 2012 American Conference on Diversity's Humanitarian Award, the 2013 New Jersey Performing Arts Center's Visionary of the Future Award, the Rutgers University's LGBTQ and Diversity Resource Center's 2012 Outstanding Academic Leadership Award, and the 2012 Episcopal Diocese of Newark's Louie Crew Award. He was also recognized as one 50 Black LGBT Adults that Black LGBT Youth Should know in 2012.

He is presently working on a book that examines contemporary racial and sexual politics and jointly operates a social entrepreneurial company named YOU Belong with former NFL player, Wade Davis II, focused on creating proactive and progressive solutions to the problem of social injustice. Their first project, the YOU Belong LGBTQA Youth Sports and Leadership Camp, was launched in Chicago in July 2013. The camp, which provided LGBTQ youth and allies of color with NBA and WNBA players, is the first of its kind in the country.

He received a BA in Social and Behavioral Sciences (Seton Hall University), MA in Community and Clinical Counseling (Eastern University) and MA in Theological Studies/Christian Education (Princeton Theological Seminary).

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