Calhoun Community College will pay tribute to slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the college's annual celebration program scheduled for Thursday, January 19, 2017. This year’s program, hosted by the college's Black Student Alliance (BSA), will begin at 11 a.m. on Calhoun's Decatur campus in the Aerospace Training Center (ATC). The program is free and open to the public.
Featured speaker for this year's program is civil rights activist, educator, and minister Dr. Frederick Douglas Reese. A native of Selma, Alabama, Reese is known as a member of Selma’s “Courageous Eight,” and was president of the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL) when that organization invited the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Dr. King to Selma to amplify the city’s local voting rights campaign. Reese was portrayed by E. Roger Mitchell in Ava DuVernay’s 2014 film, Selma.
This campaign eventually gave birth to the Selma to Montgomery marches, which later led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Reese was also president of the Selma Teachers Association, and in January 1965, he mobilized Selma’s teachers to march as a group for their right to vote. Reese retired from teaching in 2001, and in December 2015, he has retired from the pastorate of Selma’s Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, where he served faithfully for 50 years.
Reese graduated from Alabama State University, where he majored in math and science. He received a Master’s degree in education from Livingston University and two degrees from Selma University: a Doctorate of Divinity and an educational specialist’s degree.
In 1960, Reese moved back home to Selma, started teaching science and math at R. B. Russell High School, and joined the Dallas County Voters League, the major civil rights organization in Selma since the state of Alabama started actively suppressing the NAACP in 1956. Two years after joining the DCVL, he was elected as its president.
Reese has been married to the former Alline Prossing, for 63 years. They are the proud parents of 5 children and now reside in their beloved city of Selma, Alabama.
For more information on Calhoun’s MLK program, contact the college’s Dean of Student Affairs office at 256/306-2614 or the Public Affairs, Community Relations and Institutional Advancement office at 256/306-2560.