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USM hosting 30th annual Armstrong-Branch Lecture March 5

Thu, 02/22/2024 - 10:07am | By: David Tisdale

Armstrong-Branch Lecture

Dr. Fania Davis, a longtime international social justice activist who came of age in the turbulent days of the American Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Ala. will be the guest speaker for the annual Armstrong-Branch Lecture at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM).

Sponsored by the USM Dean of Students Office, it will be held March 5 at 7 p.m. in the Joe Paul Theater on the Hattiesburg campus. Admission is free and the public is invited; parking will be available in the Thad Cochran Center parking lot. 

A leader in the cause of restorative justice who participated in multiple human rights movements, Dr. Davis is also a Civil Rights trial attorney, writer, and educator. She holds a Ph.D. in Indigenous Knowledge, is widely published and a frequent guest lecturer on the topics of restorative justice, racial justice, truth processes, and indigeneity. She is the author of The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice: Black Lives, Justice, and U.S. Social Transformation along with multiple articles on restorative justice.

“We’re honored to have Dr. Fania Davis as the featured speaker for the Armstrong-Branch Distinguished Lecture Series,” said Dr. Delores McNair, assistant dean of students and coordinator of the lecture series. “Dr. Davis will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise in restorative justice, civil rights, and racial healing in her presentation. We look forward to hearing her personal stories and insights on resilience and reconciliation.”

Now in its third decade, the Armstrong-Branch Lecture Series is named for Gwendolyn Armstrong-Chamberlain and Raylawni Adams Branch, who made history as the first African American students at USM when they enrolled in 1965.

“As a three-time graduate of Southern Miss, honoring Mrs. Armstrong-Chamberlain and Mrs. Branch gives me a sense a pride.” Dr McNair said.

Dr. Davis is the founding director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY) and co-founding board member of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACJR). Among her many honors, she is recipient of the Ubuntu Award for Service to Humanity; the Dennis Maloney Award for Excellence in Youth Restorative Justice; the Black Feminist Shapeshifters and Waymakers’ Award; the Tikkun (Repair the World) Award; the Ella Jo Baker Human Rights Award; the Ebony Power 100 Award; and recognition by the Los Angeles Timesas a New Civil Rights Leader of the 21st Century.  

For more information on this event, contact the USM Dean of Students Office; those wishing to support the Armstrong-Branch Lecture can contact the USM Foundation.