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For Immediate Release (00-02)
Date: January 10, 2000
Contacts: Steve Simon, 240-567-5385

Civil Rights Activist and Humanitarian Morris Dees to Speak at
Montgomery College-Rockville Campus on February 7

"We have the right to hate, but we don't have the right to hurt."

-- Morris Dees

Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, will speak at Montgomery College's Rockville campus on Monday, February 7 at 7 p.m. in the Theatre Arts Building. His appearance will be the second in a series of civil rights lectures held at the college.

In 1967, Dees, a white Alabama lawyer who had achieved extraordinary business and financial success with his book publishing company, was increasingly disturbed by the prejudice and intolerance that permeated society. After a night of soul-searching in a snowed-in Cincinnati airport, he decided to sell his company and dedicate his life to fighting racial and economic injustice.

Dees began to take on controversial, highly unpopular cases and filed suits that led to the integration of colleges and social institutions, such as the all-white Montgomery YMCA. By 1971, with law partner Joseph Levin and civil rights activist Julian Bond, Dees established the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center. Since then, his work has garnered numerous awards in the areas of public justice and humanitarianism.

Dees’ success has not been limited to the law. He served as finance chairman for the presidential campaigns of George McGovern in 1972 and Ted Kennedy in 1980 and was President Carter’s national finance director in 1976. He is also the author of an autobiography, A Season for Justice (1991), as well as Hate on Trial: The Case Against America’s Most Dangerous Neo-Nazi (1993), and Gathering Storm: America’s Militia Threat (1996).

As chief trial counsel and chair of the executive committee for the Southern Poverty Law Center, Dees devotes his time to suing hate groups, mapping new directions for the Center, and developing ideas for Teaching Tolerance, the Center’s education project. He also speaks frequently to colleges, legal associations, and other groups throughout the country.

Sponsors of Dees’ appearance at Montgomery College include the Office of Equity and Diversity, the Paul Peck Humanities Institute, the Rockville Campus Office of Student Life and the Rockville campus History Department.

Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus is located at 51 Mannakee Street, just off Route 355, one mile north of the Rockville Metro station. For more information about the Morris Dees lecture, call 240-567-7417.

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