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Scholarship in the service of social justice the topic of Jan. 21 lecture at Peabody College

Jan. 17, 2002, 2:34 PM

January 17, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Claremont Graduate University professor Michele Foster will give a talk titled “Rekindling A Dream: Scholarship and Action in The Service of Social Justice” on Monday, Jan. 21, at Vanderbilt University.

Foster’s talk is the keynote address for the annual “Changing Lives” award presentation scheduled for 1-3 p.m. in the Wyatt Center Rotunda on the campus of Peabody College at Vanderbilt.

Each year, during the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, the Departments of Psychology and Human Development and Special Education at Peabody College recognize community service with the Changing Lives award.

Foster, a professor with the Center for Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University, is the granddaughter of one of the original members of the first African American-controlled union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, formed in 1925.

“One of the lessons my grandfather taught me was to ‘leave the world a better place than you found it’ – even if it means some risk to yourself,” Foster said.

“I think most people enter academia because they want to affect change; however, a lot of times as academics we get caught up in explaining the problem rather than doing something about it. Scholarship should be in the service of effecting social change,” Foster said.

Prior to joining Claremont University, Foster was an associate professor of education and African-American and African Studies at the University of California, Davis.

Her family home in Marlborough, Mass., has been in her family since the late 1800s when her great-great grandfather, a slave, fled what is now Harpers Ferry, W.Va. and settled in Marlborough. Foster’s son is the sixth generation of her family to live in the home.

Foster’s talk and the award presentation are being held in conjunction with the 2002 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Series at Vanderbilt scheduled Jan. 14-Feb. 27. For a complete listing of events, visit

Contact: Princine Lewis, (615) 322-NEWS