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Local author to discuss forthcoming book on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Marching to the Mountaintop, at Beloit College

Monday, January 9, 2012

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at or 608-363-2849

Beloit Public Library and Beloit College are co-sponsoring annual event commemorating King’s life and legacy

Local author and Beloit College alumna Ann Bausum will discuss her latest book with the campus and community on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. in Pearsons Hall’s Moore Lounge. Marching to the Mountaintop, Bausum’s latest historical work for the National Geographic Society, will be released Jan. 10 and tells the story of the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike and how it figured in the final days of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life.

The event, which is being co-sponsored by the Beloit Public Library, is free and open to the public. Bausum’s presentation, titled “Marching to the Mountaintop—The Dream in Memphis and the Death of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” will include slides and photos from the book and her research. A question and answer session will follow the lecture and copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing as well.

In her introduction to Marching Bausum writes, “During the 1960s the sanitation workers of Memphis showed up for work every day knowing they would be treated like garbage. By the end of the day they smelled and felt like garbage, too. Unfairness guided their employment, and racism ruled their workdays… until something snapped, one day in February 1968, and the men collectively declared, ’Enough is enough.’”

The book, as its subtitle reveals, goes on to show “How poverty, labor fights, and civil rights set the stage for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s final hours.” An excerpt from Marching to the Mountaintop on further illustrates how Bausum carefully and clearly goes about the work of recounting the story of the Memphis strike (and the conditions – and tragedy – that led to it) before detailing King’s involvement and the circumstances leading up to his death in Memphis.

Bausum’s lecture will be the eighth in a series of annual lectures at the college celebrating the life and legacy of the civil rights leader. Past speakers have included James Perkins, former mayor of Selma, Ala.; Joanne Bland, co-founder of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute; Robert L. Belle, Jr., former director of the Federal TRIO Programs within the U.S. Department of Education; Dr. Phil Christian’81, a Beloit alumnus and a physician dedicated to providing health care to the poor and underserved; Sherrick Anderson, senior pastor of Higher Ground Christian Center in Beloit; and Regina M. Prude, founder of New Directions Management Services, Inc.  Last year, Debra Majeed, associate professor and chair of philosophy and religious studies at Beloit College, delivered the annual address.    


Ann Bausum is an award-winning children's book author. Marching to the Mountaintop is her ninth book for the National Geographic Society. Her books consistently earn prominent national recognition. Denied, Detained, Deported (2009) was named the 2010 Carter G. Woodson Book Award winner at the secondary school level from the National Council for the Social Studies. Muckrakers (2007) earned the Golden Kite Award as best nonfiction book of the year from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Freedom Riders (2006) gained Sibert Honor designation from the American Library Association and With Courage and Cloth (2004) received the Jane Addams Children's Book Award as the year's best book on social justice issues for older readers.


Beloit College is located off Highway 51 near downtown Beloit. Public parking is readily available on College Street and along cross streets to the east of campus. Pearsons Hall is a short walk from the corner of College and Chapin Streets. Accessible parking is available at the rear of the building off Highway 51.     

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