Voorhees prepares for its 121st Founders’ Day Convocation

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Voorhees prepares for its 121st Founders’ Day Convocation

April 05, 2018

Voorhees College will host its 121st Founders’ Day Convocation on Thursday, April 12 at 10 a.m. in the Leonard E. Dawson Center featuring co-founder and president of the Atlanta-based nonprofit, Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI), Dr. Kenneth Morris, Jr.

Morris is the descendant of two of the most influential men in American History: Frederick Douglass, who is his great-great-great grandfather and Booker T. Washington, his great-great grandfather. 

In 2007, Morris followed in his ancestors’ footsteps by continuing his family’s legacy of anti-slavery and educational work. He helped establish FDFI, which is a part of today’s abolitionist movement, setting the guidance of history to fight modern day slavery. This organization educates and informs the youth of all forms of forced confinement and encourages them to take action. 

Some of FDFI projects include PROTECT, a partnership with two California-based nonprofit organizations, 3Strands Global and Love Never Failsto provide grade-level appropriate, state standard-compliant human trafficking prevention education to thousands of California schoolchildren from grade school to high school. Another project is the One Million Abolitionists project, which with a wide range of partners including the National Park Service, educational institutions, community organizations, and individuals will print and distribute one million copies of a special bicentennial edition of Frederick Douglass’ first autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave,” to young people across the country through the 2018 celebration of the bicentennial of Douglass’ birth.

Morris has appeared in both the National Geographic documentary “Civil Warriors” and in the 2015 History Channel documentary: “Blood and Glory.”  He also appeared in the National Geographic documentary “Rise Up: The Legacy of Nat Turner,” and contributed to “Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American.”

In January 2012, Morris received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the University of La Verne in California. Additionally, January 2014, he was the first man to be awarded the women’s E-News 21 Leaders for the 21st Century “Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism.” In April 2016, Morris received the “Anne Frank Change the World Award” from the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights.

President W. Franklin Evans said this year’s speaker adds value to reiterating to our students the importance of education. “Dr. Morris comes from a long line of educators that understood the need for African-Americans to receive an education years ago. This still rings true today,” Evans said.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Megan Freeman, director of communications, at 803-780-1191 or at mfreeman@voorhees.edu.