Susan Burton, a visionary and inspirational leader of the criminal justice reform movement, will give the inaugural Dr. Jeanette Jennings Lecture Series at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, in Bondurant Hall at the University of Mississippi.
Presented by the African American Studies and the Prison-to-College Pipeline programs at UM, the event in Room 204C is free and open to the public.
“We could not be prouder or more honored to host Ms. Burton given the need for her voice within our community,” said Derrick Harriell, director of African American Studies.
The lecture series, funded by an anonymous gift to UM in 2022, honors Jennings who became the university’s first Black faculty member in 1970.
“Dr. Jennings was pivotal to the advancement of Black studies and the cradling of Black students,” said Harriell, who is also the Otillie Schillig Associate Professor of English.
Burton’s lecture is an official event in the observation of the university’s 175th anniversary celebration themed “A Legacy of Calling.”
Based in Los Angeles, California, Burton is a formerly incarcerated woman now known nationally as an advocate for restoring basic civil and human rights to those who have served time. Her ability to rebuild her life serves as a dramatic example of how others can break the cycle of incarceration.
As Burton puts it: “Mistakes belong to the past. We belong to the future.”
She is the author of the award-winning memoir, “Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women.”
She is also the founder of A New Way of Life, a nonprofit organization providing housing and other support to formerly incarcerated women. ANWOL’s approach to reentry is internationally recognized as an innovative model that creates welcoming and healing spaces for women to rejoin their communities after incarceration while developing as leaders.
The impact of Burton’s work has been recognized through numerous awards, including the prestigious Citizen Activist Award from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the Encore Purpose Prize and the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award. She also received the NAACP Image Award and was named as one of the 18 New Civil Rights Leaders in the nation by the Los Angeles Times.
For more information about Burton’s lecture, contact Tracion Flood, program coordinator of the Prison-to-College Pipeline Program and program manager of African American Studies, at email@example.com or 662-915-5977.
To make a gift to the Dr. Jeanette Jennings Lecture Fund, click here. To learn about supporting the College of Liberal Arts and the African American Studies program, contact Delia Childers, director of development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-3086.
By Jonathan Scott/UM Development