Former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin will give LaGrange College's 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. address.
The Jan. 16 event is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. in Callaway Auditiorium, 405 Forrest Place in LaGrange.
In 2002, Franklin became the first black woman elected mayor of a major Southern city. She served two terms, leaving office in 2009, and now is president of Clarke-Franklin and Associates, a general management consulting firm in Atlanta.
Franklin was LaGrange College’s commencement speaker in 2009, when she was awarded an honorary doctoral degree.
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“Her record as a trailblazer is renowned, not only in politics and business, but also as a leader in civil and human rights issues,” Dan McAlexander, the college’s president, said in a news release. “She continues our tradition of outstanding MLK speakers, such as Rep. John Lewis, the Rev. Otis Moss Jr. and Freedom Rider Hank Thomas.”
According to the news release, Franklin’s tenure as mayor “is best known for advocating for and tackling major government operations and ethics reform, launching the Atlanta Beltline, planning and executing more than $5 billion in airport and water infrastructure improvements, leading the acquisition of the Morehouse College Collection of Martin Luther King Jr. Papers, launching the Atlanta Regional Commission on Homelessness and developing successful business and public-sector partnerships and alliances.”
Franklin was a recipient of the 2005 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for her leadership in restoring fiscal stability and ethical government to Atlanta.
Franklin co-chairs the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta’s Regional Commission on Homelessness, serves as the chairwoman of the National Center of Civil and Human Rights and serves on the board of the Volcker Alliance, Mueller Water Products and Delta Air Lines.
From 2013 to 2016, she served as the inaugural Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values at the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas Austin, and from 2010 to 2012 she was a visiting professor in political science at Spelman College.