LeMoyne College Class of 1968 honored with historical maker
The LeMoyne College Class of 1968, the last to graduate under the LeMoyne College banner, was honored with a Shelby County Historical marker during an unveiling ceremony on the LOC campus April 12.
LeMoyne College merged with Owen College in June 1968. Students from both institutions began taking classes under the LeMoyne-Owen College banner at the start of the 1968 fall semester.
The marker reads:
“Against the turbulent backdrop of the 1960s, the LeMoyne College Class of 1968 not only earned undergraduate degrees but also distinguished itself through leadership in civil rights advocacy both on and off campus. Led by the LeMoyne Student Christian Fellowship, in 1966 class members helped organize James Meredith’s Mississippi March Against Fear.
“Thereafter, they were involved in Delta Ministry voter registration drives and house renovations in Freedom City near Greenville, Ms. In February 1968, they began marching with Memphis sanitation workers in their strike for higher wages and safer working conditions. Many were behind Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the ill-fated march from Beale Street to Main Street preceding his assassination on April 4, 1968. Many LeMoyne students, including members of the Invaders, wrote eyewitness accounts and took photographs of these historic events.
“The 126 seniors who made up the Class of 1968 were the last to graduate from LeMoyne before the merger with Owen Junior College, creating LeMoyne-Owen College. Ambitious efforts by the Class of 1968 helped not only to preserve the legacy of social justice through student activism but also to bolster the future for the newly merged college.”
Among those attending the ceremony were LOC President Andrea Lewis Miller, Shelby Register of Deeds Shelandra Y. Ford and Shelby County Historical commissioners, including Commission Chair Andy Pouncey and County Historian Jimmy Rout III, and former county historian Jimmy Ogle.
LOC Vice President of Institutional Development W. Anthony Neal served as master of ceremonies for the event.
“I do not think I am going out on a limb in saying the financial and volunteer support the Class of 1968 has extended to LeMoyne-Owen over the last 50 years – and during their days as students – have been exceptional.
“Today’s unveiling of this historical maker is a testament to their service and dedication to their alma mater, and their service to the community,” Dr. Neal said.
Class of 1968 members Dr. Clarence Christian and Dr. Anita Curry-Jackson also address the audience, which include several members of the class.