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VLS Hosts Tenth Annual MLK Celebration

January 10, 2009

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT -- Vermont Law School will host its 10th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration on January 20 with a presentation on civil rights history by Selma native and VLS Associate Dean Shirley Jefferson, followed by televised ceremonies marking the inauguration of Barack Obama as the nation's 44th president.

The event, to be held in the Chase Community Center, will begin at 11:15 a.m. Jefferson's presentation will follow remarks by VLS Dean Geoffrey Shields and a representative of the Black Law Students Association.

Jefferson was a high school student attending segregated schools in Selma when she witnessed police beat peaceful voting rights demonstrators in March 1965 on a day that became known as "Bloody Sunday." Weeks later, she joined Martin Luther King, Jr. and (now Congressman) John Lewis on the historic march from Selma to Montgomery.

Eighteen years later, Jefferson received a scholarship to attend Vermont Law School. After graduating in 1986, she went to work in Washington, D.C. for the United Black Fund, where she served as general counsel before returning to VLS in 1999. She now serves as associate dean for student affairs and diversity.

"I never imagined that a black man would be elected president of the United States in my lifetime," Jefferson said. "I have always been proud of the American people, and I've never been prouder than when they elected Barack Obama. I am excited and grateful to celebrate this historic event with Vermont Law School and my local community."

The event is free and open to the public. Cake and cider will be served, and those wishing to bring lunch are welcome to do so.

CONTACT: Diane Derby, Director of Media Relations

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