MURFREESBORO, TN — In the wake of inflammatory racist messages left on and around the MTSU campus and the fall 2017 “Murfreesboro Loves” antiracism campaign that earned national attention, the director of outreach for the Southern Poverty Law Center will present the MTSU Scholars Week keynote address Wednesday, March 21.
Lecia Brooks, outreach director, Southern Poverty Law Center

Lecia Brooks will speak on “The Rhetoric of Hate and the Art of Resistance” at 7 p.m. March 21 in the Keathley University Center Theater. Her lecture, which is sponsored by MTSU’s Distinguished Lecture Fund and the Department of English, is free and open to the public.

A campus parking map is available at
The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Alabama, was founded in 1971 by civil rights attorneys Morris Dees and Joseph Levin Jr.
The nonprofit organization conducts civil rights and public interest litigation, monitors and reports on hate groups and other extremists throughout the United States, and promotes tolerance education programs.
Brooks leads outreach on key initiatives for the SPLC, including its Teaching Tolerance project, which works to reduce prejudice among American youth and promote equality, inclusiveness and equitable learning environments. She also serves as director of the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, an interpretive center that provides visitors to the Civil Rights Memorial with more understanding of the civil rights movement.
Brooks also will meet with MTSU students and faculty during her two-day visit to campus.
“I can’t think of a better time to be reminded that the civil rights movement did not end 50 years ago, on April 4, 1968, when Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis,” said MTSU English professor Laura Dubek, who’s organizing Brooks’ campus visit.
“The SPLC is important because it’s educating a new generation of freedom fighters, arming them with historical perspective and understanding, so that movement toward Dr. King’s idea of the ‘Beloved Community’ continues.”
The Anti-Defamation League released a study last month showing that incidents of white supremacist propaganda circulated on U.S. college campuses more than tripled in 2017. The organization noted 346 such incidents on 216 campuses in 44 states and in Washington, D.C., from September 2016 to December 2017.
During fall 2017 alone, 147 episodes occurred, a 258 percent increase over the 41 propaganda instances reported in fall 2016.
MTSU’s annual Scholars Week is a campuswide celebration of research, scholarship and creative projects. This year’s event is set March 19-24. Each day focuses on one of the university’s seven undergraduate colleges, allowing students to present their research projects and hear from special guests in their fields of interest.
Dubek’s undergraduate students won first and third place for three consecutive years (2014-2016) in the universitywide Scholars Day poster exhibition.
You can learn more about Scholars Week at MTSU, including a full schedule of events, at
For more information about the keynote lecture, please contact Dubek at