Sam Olens - Attorney General of Georgia
Sam Olens was re-elected to a second term as Georgia’s 53rd Attorney General on November 4, 2014.
As Attorney General, Olens is committed to serving Georgians by defending the U.S. and Georgia Constitutions and upholding the rule of law.
He has fought for stronger laws to protect Georgians. In 2011, he worked with legislators to strengthen the penalties for sex trafficking, making Georgia’s law one of the toughest in the nation. In 2012, he spearheaded the first comprehensive revision of Georgia’s sunshine laws in more than a decade. In 2013, he led the effort to stem the epidemic of prescription drug abuse with a law that requires pain management clinics to be licensed and regulated.
Olens has also worked to protect Georgia’s rights and natural resources. He led Georgia’s legal challenge against the Affordable Care Act and continues to defend Georgia from federal regulatory overreach. Olens has represented the State in crucial litigation to preserve Georgia’s water rights and removed legal barriers that were delaying the critical deepening of the Savannah Harbor.
In 2013, Olens was elected by his peers to Chair the Southern Region of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). Olens currently serves on numerous NAAG Committees to include Substance Abuse, Human Trafficking, Law Enforcement and Prosecutorial Relations, Elections and Financial Services Consumer Protection.
Prior to being elected to Attorney General, Olens was Chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, serving from August 2002 through March 2010.
From December 2004 through 2009, Olens served as Chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission. He was appointed as Vice-Chair of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District from 2005 through March 2010.
Olens also devotes much time assisting various non-profit organizations.
Olens is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2013 Emory Law School Distinguished Alumni Award, the 2008 Tom Bradley Leadership Award by the National Association of Regional Councils and the 2007 “Excellence in Public Service Award” by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute. For the past 11 years, Georgia Trend magazine has listed Olens as one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians.” In 2011, the Cobb Chamber of Commerce honored Olens for his dedication to community and philanthropic service by naming their annual community service award the “Sam Olens Business Community Service Award.”
Olens graduated from the Emory University School of Law in 1983. He is a registered mediator/arbitrator with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution. He has been admitted to practice law in Georgia and the District of Columbia.
Olens and his wife Lisa have two children, Lauren and Jonathan.
Mike "Stinger" Glenn - Board of Directors, National Basketball Retired Players Association & Basketball Analyst for Fox Sports South
Professional basketball is seen as a fiercely competitive sport with outstanding athletes talented in the art of dunking a basket or blocking a shot. Mike “Stinger ”Glenn a former NBA basketball player who played with the Buffalo Braves, the New York Knicks, The Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks, gives you a multidimensional view of what really makes them successful human beings in his insightful and inspirational book, My Next Shot Goes In: Ten Sacred Characteristics of NBA Players that Lead to Success.’ This book, Glenn's fifth, takes the readers down a path of self-development, spiritual growth, and enlightenment.
Mike completed twelve years of perfect attendance in elementary & High School while being named the number one rated basketball player in the state and maintaining his status as an honor student. After completing four years at Southern Illinois University, Mike received a BA in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science. He then attended graduate business classes at St. John’s University, Southern Illinois University and Baruch College. From 1977 to 1987, he worked as a professional basketball player for the National Basketball Association (NBA).
During the 1991-92 basketball season, Mike was an analyst for ESPN and the Atlanta Hawks on WGNX and Fox SportSouth. He also served as a studio analyst during the playoffs for TNT and CNN. During the 92-93 season, he was the analyst for two weekly shows on CNN. “This Week in the NBA” and College Basketball Preview. He continued his duties as the analyst for the Atlanta Hawks games on WGNX, Fox SportSouth and TNT’s studio analyst for the playoffs. Mike added seven half time appearances on WTBS Atlanta Hawks games. Mike was employed by Merrill Lynch as a consultant to the NBA’s pre-pension plan. For fourteen years he served as the Atlanta Hawks’ TV analyst.
Mike is a collector of rare books, newspapers, magazines by and about African Americans. He shares his artifacts through traveling exhibits and lectures. He has taken his rare documents to New York, Illinois, New Mexico, California, and Indiana. From his collection, Mike has written four books featuring Lessons from his Library. Mike writes and shares the inspirations and accomplishments of past African American heroes who faced obstacles of oppression, racism, bigotry, ignorance and hate. He has skillfully paired contemporary perspectives on life and success with that of the great leaders and philosophers who left us with a strong legacy of courage and mental toughness.
Another of Mike’s passions is his All-Star Basketball Camp for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing which celebrated their 35th Anniversary, in June, 2014. This non-profit organization is the nation’s first basketball camp for hearing-challenged athletes and is offered every summer free of charge to as many as 120 deaf athletes across the country.
Mike Glenn is the recipient of numerous awards including: #1 Vote for Academic All-American Basketball Player, NBA Walter P. Kennedy Citizenship Award, NBA “Spirit of Love” Award, & Gate City Bar Association Professional Athlete Award; Leadership Atlanta, Class of 1988-89; the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award by the Roberto Goizueto Business School at EmoryUniversity 2001; the Hosea Williams Award for Community Activism by Georgia State University, 2009; and the Operation Lifesaver,Inc. "Champion" award, 2010.
Some of the organizations Mike is affiliated with include the Board of Advisors for Auditory Education Clinic; "Shatter Silence/Deaf Awareness Committee" chairman; Georgia Registry of Interpreters for Deaf; and as the celebrity spokesman for the "Bee a Buckler" Safety Program, Georgia Operation Lifesaver Inc.
In 2013, Glenn has his debut as an actor by playing himself in an award-winning movie, The Spirit of Love: The Mike Glenn Story, recipient of numerous awards. The film won "Best Inspirational Movie of the Year" at the ICM Country Music Association in Nashville, beating out the movie "42" inspired by the life of Jackie Robinson.
As a renowned speaker, Mike has participated in youth programs such as the Atlanta based “Stop the Violence” campaign and drug-awareness seminars in high schools across the Southeast. He has also served as the Master of Ceremonies for the Miss Junior Black America Pageant in September, 1989. Mike has spoken at numerous colleges and sports teams on health, minerals, and longevity. He continues to speak at schools, churches, banquets, business offices and literacy support groups.
Recently Mike was elected to the board of directors of the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA), and was selected to the All Century team at Southern Illinois University as well as the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame.
Currently, Mike Glenn is a television basketball analyst for Fox Sports South. He can be seen on Hawks Live, the pre-game, half-time, and post game show for the Atlanta Hawks.
Rev. Frank Brown - Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta
Frank Cornelius Brown was born the youngest of five children to sister Hattie Mae Brown, and the late Deacon Larkin E. Brown, Sr., in the city of Roanoke, Virginia. Reverend Brown matriculated through the public school system in Roanoke, and at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, where he majored in Business Administration with a minor in Information Systems.
Reverend Brown worked extensively in the Technology Industry for eighteen years. He was most recently employed in the position of National Account Manager with SED International, a distributor of computer and peripheral products based in Tucker, Georgia.
For twenty one years Reverend Brown was a member of the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. While at Ebenezer his spiritual giftedness flourished and he was ordained as a member of the Board of Deacons.
In June of 1999, after years of prayer and consideration, Reverend Brown answered the call to Christian ministry. He was licensed to preach the gospel in November 2002 by his pastor and mentor the Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts, Jr., and the Ebenezer Church family. His trial sermon was titled, “A Matter of Trust,” based on a reading of Proverbs 3:5-6.
In May of 2006, Reverend Brown had conferred upon him the Master of Divinity degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center and the Morehouse School of Religion. While enrolled at The ITC, he distinguished himself with honors by receiving the President / Deans Award for high academic achievement; the Charles J. Sargent Award, given to students that demonstrate integrity in deportment and aptitude for administration; and the Thomas E. Huntley Award, provided to persons of high academic achievement and distinction who have demonstrated leadership and interest in the parish ministry, and who blend their religious leadership with a strong interest, commitment, and participation in civic and political-government affairs.
In December 2006, Reverend Brown was called to the pastorate at the Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in the Ben Hill Community of SW Atlanta. He was then ordained by The Reverend Dr. Raphael G. Warnock at Ebenezer and took over the pulpit of the Mt. Olive congregation in February 2007.
As a member of the Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta he has served as a member of the Board of Directors and as VP of Clergy Programs. Other affiliations include The New Era State Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia; the Regional Council of Churches in Atlanta; Board member of SWEEAC, the Southwest Ecumenical Emergency Assistance Center and serves as a Neighborhood Advocate for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation; along with membership in other community service organizations.
Since 1984, he has been married to the former Linda Denise Scott. To this union, three children have been born, Whitney, Charmaine, and Joshua.
Dr. Steven Chervin, Ed. D. - Director of The Jewish Encounter
Dr. Chervin has taught more than 1,000 students in various classes of the MJCCA’s Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, including the Parent Education Program (PEP). He has taught introduction to Judaism classes for several hundred students, and has led six tour groups to Israel. Steve spent a year living in Jerusalem and studying at The Hebrew University. In all he has been to Israel 11 times. Steve coaches individuals and groups on applying Jewish ethical values to their everyday lives (Mussar), consults with Jewish schools, and is an active leader in Jewish/Christian/Muslim relations in Atlanta. He founded and then directed the Goodman Institute, the adult education arm of Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Atlanta, for 10 years, and has taught Jewish studies at Emory University. Steve earned a B.A. in Psychology from Columbia University, an Ed. M. from Harvard University, and an Ed. D. from Stanford University. He also studied as a Senior Educator at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Mike Ennis – CEO/President of Wellspring Living
Mike Ennis has a passion to empower people to engage in community transformation. Mike has provided technical assistance training in the areas of fund development, organizational development and collaboration. He has provided sustainability training to over 3,000 grass roots, faith and community-based organizations.
In 1998 Mike began working with Convoy of Hope as the Strategic Initiatives Director, providing oversight for the domestic initiatives for Convoy of Hope in the United States by building the resource development office. Over $25 million was raised to serve the poor across America and around the world. Additionally, Mike has incubated a number of global organizations that focus on community transformation.
Mike is a graduate of Southeastern University. Mike is married to Christy. They have 2 adult children, Christopher and Caleb.
Reverend John Foster, Ph. D. - Senior Pastor of the historic Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Atlanta, GA.
Dr. Foster has a distinguished career, both as a clergy in the AME Church and as an educator at several colleges and universities. He has served as pastor in the 2nd, 10th and 6th AME Episcopal Districts. during his tenure as pastor, Dr. Foster has held the positions as Dean of the Board of Examiners, Conference Trustee Board Member, Episcopal District Technology Officer and Episcopal District Chief Statistician. He has been appointed pastor of the following AME Churches - St. Stephens (Mt. Gilead, NC), Williams Chapel (Hempstead, TX), Hope (Prairie View, TX), Pleasant Hill (Atlanta, GA), Rock Temple (Conyers, GA), St. Philip (Savannah, GA), Allen Temple (Atlanta, GA) and Big Bethel (Atlanta, GA).
Dr. Foster’s higher education tenure includes being a faculty in electrical engineering and/or computer science at Tuskegee University, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, Morehouse College, Savannah State University, University of South Carolina and the University of Phoenix. In addition to faculty member, Dr. Foster also held administrative positions of Vice Provost, Dean and Department Head at these institutions.
Dr. Foster is a profound preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has preached at Episcopal District Meetings, Annual Conference opening worship and Ordination preacher, District Conferences and wherever he is invited. He has a unique ability to combine the preaching and teaching elements to unveil a fresh presentation of a “Word from the Lord.”
Dr. Foster has been blessed to combine his technological prowess to bless the ministries of the church. Over the past decades, he has successfully implemented and completed projects including: i) Database Development for Annual Conference Support, ii) After School Youth Technology Programs, iii) Network Design and Implementation of Episcopal Office, iv) Episcopal District Electronic Mailing System, v) Local Church Network Design and Implementation, vi) Design and Implementation of Local Church Video Streaming and Multimedia and vii) multiple webpage designs. Dr. Foster has made a tremendous contribution to the Church of Allen!
Dr. Foster has served as both a member and officeholder for several prominent organizations for more than twenty-five years. His experience includes working on and/or having worked on the boards of the National Science Foundation, the Army Science Board, the Microelectronics Center of North Carolina, the Allen Hills Board of Directors, the Sweet Auburn Board of Directors, and the Bethel Towers Board of Directors.
Dr. Foster graduated from Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio and attended the Ohio College of Applied Sciences where he began his college education. He received the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Tuskegee University and a Master of Divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center. He received a Master of Science and his Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.
Dr. Foster is married to Sis. Mary Ann (Mackey) Foster. They have three children – Kristina Marie Rose, John Jr. and Jessica Rose. Dr. Foster is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Pastor Nawanna Lewis Miller, B.A., M.A., M.Div. - Founding Director of The Institute for Christian Discipleship, Inc.
Reverend Nawanna Lewis Miller is a life-long Christian who celebrates the memory of her first encounter with Jesus Christ while she was yet in a high chair. Throughout her life, she has vigorously served in the church of Jesus Christ. God the Holy Spirit continues to give her prophetic vision and revelation to expand the scope of work to which God assigns her hands.
Her family is her number one ministry and great joy. She is married to her high school sweetheart, George C, Miller, Jr.! Together, they moved to Washington, D.C. with President Jimmy Carter’s Administration in 1977 when her husband received a political appointment in the U.S. Treasury. Together, they serve God as parents to four birth children (six total) and four grandchildren.
She is one of the early women in the Baptist Denomination to be licensed and ordained. Metropolitan Baptist Church, under the pastorate of Reverend Dr. H. Hicks, Jr., licensed her in 1989, though other pastors in the city strongly objected to it. In 1992, she was ordained to the gospel ministry there, following a substantial public catechism by phenomenal clergy who courageously ordained a preacher who was female, when to do so was yet contested in the Baptist denomination.
Reverend Miller is an honors graduate of H.M. Turner High School in Atlanta, Georgia. She is one of the early African-American graduates of the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, Georgia where she earned the ABJ degree in Broadcast Journalism. At UGA, founded and directed the Pamoja Singers (currently African American Choral Ensemble - AACE), Pamoja Dancers and Pamoja Drama Group; as well as, the Journalism Association for Minorities. The Master of Arts in Organizational Communications was earned at the Howard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The Master of Divinity Degree was earned at the Howard University School of Divinity.
God permits her to serve as the Founding Pastor of the Messiah’s Temple Christian Ministries in Austell, Georgia since 1995; Founder and Leading Director of The Institute for Christian Discipleship, Inc. since 1995; Founding Chairperson and President of Hannah’s Hope Family Life Center, Inc. (a Nonprofit 501(C)3 Corporation since 1999;; and Founding President and Chairperson of Proof Positive Communications, Inc., since 1981. She is the published author of three books: Angels in My Room, Cruising the Cosmos, and Heal the Hurt: Live the Victory! Reverend Miller is a member of the Faith and Education Advisory Council for the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives; and personal pastor to countless people who she counsels across the world, from all walks of life, including clergy and leaders.
Rev. Dr. Terence K. Leathers
The Reverend Dr. Terence K. Leathers was licensed to the Gospel ministry in February 1987 at James Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church in Hobgood, North Carolina. He was ordained to the Gospel ministry on November 2, 1990 at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., where he served as an associate minister under the pastorate of the Reverend Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, Jr. In 1986, Dr. Leathers received the Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Howard University, and pursued further graduate study in sociology at Howard University in the fall of 1986. In January 1987, he entered the Howard University School of Divinity and received the Master of Divinity degree in May 1990.
He has also been the recipient of several scholarships and awards, among them the James Daniel and Brittie Ann Tyms Award (for potential as a religious educator), the Alfred O. Virginia A. Diggs Award, prestigious Benjamin A Mays Fellowship awarded through a national competition sponsored by the fund for Theological Education. He received the Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. in May 2004. His D.Min. project was entitled Show Me the Money: The Prosperity Gospel Movement Implications for the Twenty first Century Church.
In recognition of his commitment to AIDS education and prevention, he was appointed by Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly as a member of the Metropolitan Washington Regional Human Immundefiecncy Virus Health Services Planning Council in 1993. Â He served on the advisory boards of the Religious Coalition for reproductive Choice National Black Church Summit on Sexuality: Breaking the Silence and the Anacostia Museum/Center for Center for African American Communities of Faith and Contemporary Society, (which showcased the history and legacy of the Black faith community of Washington, D.C. and the nation). He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and has also served the second vice president of the Progressive Baptist Convention of Maryland.
In December 1995, Dr. Leathers conducted his first missionary trip to Queenstown, South Africa, and Mbabane, Swaziland through the auspices of the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., where he was one of the preachers and workshop leaders for the first youth conference held in Queestown.
Dr. Leathers has dedicated himself to working with youth and the disadvantaged through the public school system, the government, and community organizations. He is licensed professional counselor. His previous positions have included:
- Pastor, The Prince of Peace Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD, (Sept. 1997 - May 2005);
- Director of Public Relations for the Center for Life Enrichment in Washington, D.C., where he also worked in the organizations strategic planning institutional development and funding (Jan. 1999 - Feb. 2004)
- Deputy Director and Director of the Office of Religious Affairs under Marion Barry, Jr. (April 1998 - Dec. 1998)
- Chief of Prevention and Youth Services for the Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration of the D.C. Government [the state level substance abuse prevention and treatment agency] (March 1995 - April 1998)
- Coordinator of the Mayors Turning Points Program with the D.C. Department of Human Services [citywide under Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly](Aug. 1993, March 1995);
- Director of the Mayors Turning Points Center at Evans Jr. High School in Washington, D.C.(Aug 1992-Aug.1993); And
- Director of AIDS Prevention Services at Sasha Bruce Youthwork, Inc. (Oct. 1990 - Aug. 1992). Under his leadership, the AIDS Prevention Services Program was rated as one of the four best AIDS prevention/education programs in the country by the U.S. Council of Mayors.
In September 2004, Dr. Leathers was appointed Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He primarily gives direction to and management of Shaws nine College for Adult and Professional Education (CAPE) sites around the state. In addition to his work at Shaw University, he served as interim pastor of Poplar Springs Christian Church Raleigh from July 2005 to September 2005. He was installed as the pastor of Mount Vernon Christian Church in Clayton, North Carolina on October 29, 2005. He is married to Dr. Kim Q. B. Leathers, Dean of the Honors College at Shaw University. They are the delighted parents of a daughter, Kimille Queen Leathers.
Alice Keesey Mecoy - Great-great-great granddaughter of John Brown
Alice grew up in Palo Alto, California. She was unaware of her familial connection until high school; the family considered the relationship a secret and did not discuss it openly. Jean Libby, nationally renowned John Brown scholar, located the family in 1976 and introduced Alice to her history.
For more than 35 years, Alice has researched her family history, with her studies primarily focused on the women in John Brown’s life, whose dedication and sacrifices contributed greatly to the war against slavery. She has worked closely with numerous historians and writers in her quest to understand better her family’s history. She has also compiled one of the most comprehensive Brown Family Genealogies, spanning from John Brown’s father, Owen, to descendants born this year, with more than 4000 entries in the database.
Alice has presented her findings on the Brown women and the Brown genealogy to numerous audiences, including; The National Abolition Hall of Fame, in Peterboro, NY, the Allen Public Library, in Allen, TX, the Saratoga History Museum, in Saratoga, CA, and at the Academic Symposium held at Harper’s Ferry, WV, during the sesquicentennial of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry in October 2009.
Alice is a member of many organizations including The Saratoga Historical Society, The Humboldt Historical Society, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, The National Abolition Hall of Fame, The Blackjack Battlefield Historical Society, The North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association, The Lesser North Texas Writers Group, The Collin County Genealogy Society, and The Dallas Genealogy Society.
Robin Washington Banks - Great granddaughter, Booker T. Washington
Robin Banks is one of history’s children; a member of a group of individuals whose ancestry compels them to carry on the traditions and legacies of great African-Americans of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Ms. Banks was born on the campus of Tuskegee University the school founded by her great grandfather, Booker T. Washington. Her mother, Margaret, was Booker T. Washington’s granddaughter; her father, Marshall Cabiness, a Tuskegee Airman; her aunt, Sarah Meriweather Nutter, a founder of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. At an early age Ms. Banks was instilled with the philosophies of education, moral uprightness, self-help, uplift, industry and character building.
Ms. Banks received her undergraduate and graduate education from Columbia College Chicago and Tuskegee University respectfully. She has given stellar performances in the fields of arts management, hospitality management, industrial management, education and mental health.
She is a published author of 3 children’s books: Big Boy, whose message is similarities are more important than differences, encourages the reader to take the high road when dealing with people who are different than they are. Booker T.Washington a Lesson in Character building in coloring book format is an artistic presentation of Booker T. Washington’s quotations aligned with character traits needed during four stages of his life: as a boy; as a student’ as a builder; and as an educator. It is available in softcover and on an Apple App. The App allows the reader to color, work puzzles of the artwork and hear the book read. Li’l Jasmine’s Sticks & Stones, her third publication, a story about cyber bullying, made its debut this past February. It too has a Read/Play App.
Ms. Banks message focus is on character building and self-mastery. “Character is the force that drives our choices.”
Ms. Banks resides in Atlanta, Ga.
For more information: http://www.robinwashingtonbanks.com/
Rev. Dr. Richard Rose
Dr. Richard A. Rose is a Professor of Religion and Philosophy at the University of La Verne. Dr. Rose completed his undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Pacific Christian College. He earned the Master of Divinity degree at Howard University School of Divinity and received his Ph.D. degree from the Claremont Graduate School. His scholarship focuses on interfaith dialogue and the pivotal role of new educational models in advancing social justice and inter-religious understanding. In addition to his faculty position, Dr. Rose serves as the Coordinator for the University of La Verne’s Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies Program; through satellite locations non-traditional age students earn their B.A. degree in an ecumenical setting. Dr. Rose is an ordained Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and serves as the Assistant Pastor at Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church in Irvine, CA.
Nettie Washington Douglass - Founder & Chair, Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives
Booker T. Washington once said, “Through education, we must lift the veil of ignorance.” Those historic words gave us insight into the answer for African-American success in America. Today, Ms. Nettie Washington Douglass brings those words to life through her continuous efforts to enlighten people everywhere.
Born in the historic town of Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, Ms. Douglass has the unique distinction of being “heir of two great Americans.” She is the first person to unite the two bloodlines of Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass. Through the union of her mother, Nettie Hancock Washington (granddaughter of Booker T. Washington) and her father, Dr. Frederick Douglass III (great grandson of Frederick Douglass), she is the great granddaughter of Booker T. Washington and the great great granddaughter of Frederick Douglass.
Both of her great ancestors were history makers who paved the way for many African-Americans. Frederick Douglass (1817-1895) freed himself from the chains of slavery to become a great orator, author, journalist, statesman and diplomat. Called the “father of the civil rights movement,” Frederick Douglass is credited with successfully urging Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) had a vision of equal education for the African-American when he established Tuskegee Institute in 1881, a Land Grant School, that has become one of America’s most prestigious, historically, Black Colleges, now known as Tuskegee University. He also founded the National Business League and was advisor to President Theodore Roosevelt.
Ms. Douglass is a renowned speaker. As a small child, she began representing one or both of her famous ancestors at special events. Later, she chose to keep a low profile, while directing her attention and energy to what she describes as her “career of choice” – that of raising her family. Her three children now adults, and with the urging of many, Ms. Douglass has again begun to share her ancestry.
Presenting the first 1950 San Francisco minted Booker T. Washington Commemorative Half Dollar to Joe DiMaggio; speaking at the New York State Sesquicentennial (150th) Anniversary Celebration in 1977 (where she received a citation naming her Ambassador of Goodwill); being commissioned a Kentucky Colonel; having a day named in her honor in Easton, MD; making her “acting” debut in Rochester, NY, and speaking at City Hall in Hamilton, Bermuda are just a few of Ms. Douglass’ numerous and varied appearances. While she gets tremendous pleasure and enjoyment from her “living history” presentations to students throughout the country, still vivid in her memory is what she describes as her most heartwarming experience to date. Ms. Douglass accepted the challenge to assist in the fund-raising efforts of the award-winning Frederick Douglass High School Marching Band of Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Douglass’ commitment to these students proved to be successful, thus allowing them to accept the invitation of Bermuda officials to perform in the Bermuda Day Parade. The Frederick Douglass High School Marching Band has the distinction of being the first “off island” band to be invited to perform in Bermuda’s second largest holiday celebration. “Witnessing an entire country embrace ninety-six students from an inner-city school is an experience I will treasure always.”
Ms. Douglass served as the national spokesperson for the “African-American Heritage Check Series.” She was instrumental in successfully introducing the check series to the Riggs National Bank of Washington (DC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture Credit Union and the Bank South Corporation of Georgia, now known as Bank of America. In recognition of this celebrated endeavor, Ms. Douglass was given a “key to the city” of Memphis, Tennessee by its mayor and a citation from the mayor of Washington, DC.
Ms. Douglass considers her greatest honor to be the publishing of one of her speeches with the most noted speeches of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington: “What to the Slave is the 4th of July?” and the “Atlanta Cotton Exposition” speech, respectively. The speeches were featured in “Vital Issues – The Journal of African American Speeches.”Ms. Douglass is a past volunteer for the United Negro College Fund (founded by Dr. Frederick D. Patterson, the third President of Tuskegee Institute) and the Georgia State Games. She served on the Board of Directors for the Friends of Frederick Douglass Museum in Washington, DC.
Kenneth B. Morris, Jr. - Founder & President, Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives
Mr. Morris descends from two of the most important names in American history: he is the great-great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass and the great-great grandson of Booker T. Washington. His life until the year 2007 could be described as distinguished yet decisively disengaged from his lineage until Providence called.
Today, Ken’s career and life path are driven by a mission to end human trafficking and all forms of servitude with a clear focus on the organization’s mission To Advance Freedom through Knowledge and Strategic Action. He could not have predicted that one day he would so fully embrace and be defined by the characteristics that so closely defined his famous ancestors.
Ken is now the President of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI), a public charity that endeavors to create a modern Abolitionist Movement in schools all over the country through the vehicle of Service-Learning. Some of the work done by Ken and the organization since 2008 include: reaching approximately 60,000 middle and high school students through the Frederick Douglass Dialogues Tour; appearing on television, radio and in newspaper articles (including CNN, Newsweek Video, PBS, NPR, the Tavis Smiley Show, the Bev Smith Show, the Washington Post, USA Today and The CBS Evening News), creating the Abolition Day Project allowing students to bring awareness of human trafficking to millions of people all over the United States and initiating HR 929, the House Resolution to recognize Abolition Day internationally as well as the work of Frederick Douglass and FDFI toward ending slavery.
In addition, Ken has given lectures about his family history at universities all over the country including Columbia University, Morehouse College, Kennesaw State, UNLV, Tuskegee University, Virginia Tech, California University of Pennsylvania and Yale University. Ken appeared in the National Geographic documentary Civil Warriors commemorating the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Ken will appear in a History Channel documentary in April 2015, which will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the war. He contributed the afterword to Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American to be published October 2015 (Authors: John Stauffer, Zoe Trodd, Celeste-Marie Bernier with a foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., WW Norton & Company, 2015). Ken is honored to have been a keynote speaker at the United Nations on several occasions.
Ken is an Adjunct Professor at the University of La Verne. He received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of La Verne January, 2012. In June 2012, he received the National Park Services Network To Freedom Underground Railroad Frederick Douglass Legacy Award. He is the first recipient to receive this recognition. In January 2014, Ken was awarded the Women’s E-News 21 Leaders for the 21st Century Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism. He is the first male recipient to be honored with this prestigious award.
Robert J. Benz - Founder & Executive Vice President, Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives
Robert Benz is responsible for policy, program and strategic development for Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI). He was the leading creative source of FDFI’s core philosophy for an educational approach to human trafficking as well as initiatives such as: the Frederick Douglass Dialogues, the Abolition Day Project, its curriculum – History, Human Rights and the Power of One and Globalize 13.
Robert was first introduced to the issue of human trafficking when reading a September 2003 cover story in National Geographic Magazine called, 21st-Century Slaves. Believing that the only choices were to carry on as before or to become involved in eradicating modern slavery, he proposed creating an advocacy organization to his business associate and longtime friend, Ken Morris, that would leverage Ken’s unique family history, as a direct descendant of both Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington, in order to bring widespread awareness and real knowledge to the anti-trafficking cause.
“We present history in the classroom not as a compilation of detached facts but as essential knowledge necessary for young people to play a vital role in the global community. History must be used to contextualize human trafficking otherwise this contemporary crime cannot be properly understood. We all need to refresh our under-standing of slavery as one person or one group’s unwelcome control over another … because it’s all around us and its victims continue to suffer because of our ignorance.”
Robert previously owned and operated a hospitality industry marketing company. With a focus on developing group meetings, conventions and niche consumer markets for clients, Robert was responsible for the design and execution of sales and marketing programs for many of the country’s most important hotel and casino brands. His company was also contracted by the largest cruise lines in the world to develop the incentive market. Robert’s group ultimately implemented some of the biggest music cruise charters ever done at the time, starring such acts as: The Dave Matthews Band, Kenny Chesney, and Tim McGraw.
Robert does frequent speaking engagements on the subjects of human trafficking, education and social justice at conferences and in schools across the country. His writings appear in Huffington Post.
Robert is a board member for the survivor-based non-profit, There is Hope for Me and is an advisory board member for the Cincinnati Museum Center. He has represented FDFI on the Board of Directors of the Sojourn Foundation in Nevada and the Las Vegas Human Trafficking Task Force. He also served for many years on the board of the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism for Valley High School in Las Vegas.
“A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do. Nothing else.” Mahatma Gandhi
Pamela Perkins Carn - Interfaith Children’s Movement
Pamela Perkins Carn is the coordinator of the Interfaith Children’s Movement (ICM). In that capacity, she has responsibility for coordinating ICM programs and it’s statewide expansion. ICM is a statewide advocacy movement dedicated to the well-being of Georgia’s children by engaging the interfaith community in advocating for children both at the services level and at the policy level.
Pamela’s vision is that ICM will serve as a model by which effective, beneficial and lasting policy changes for children can occur in our society, and that ICM is a place from which people can dedicate themselves to establishing a future of hope and well-being for all children. Pamela’s dedicated leadership of the Interfaith Children’s Movement and her commitment to safe and healthy children were acknowledged by her receipt of the Human Rights Award by Cobb County’s league of Church Women United. For its work on juvenile justice reform, ICM was honored by The Sapelo Foundation as its 2010 recipient of the Smith Bagley Advocacy Award. In 2012, Pamela represented ICM at the White House Forum on Urban Innovation.