Bethany College Announces Speaker for MLK Day

BETHANY, W.Va. – Dr. John Mattox, curator and founder of the Underground Railroad Museum in Flushing, Ohio, has been as announced as the speaker for Bethany College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Jan. 20.

Dr. Mattox will address students, faculty and staff in the Agostino Room of Benedum Commons at 7 p.m.

Leading up to Mattox’s presentation, students will have the opportunity to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and his life’s work.

A table will be set up on campus, where students will be asked to make a commitment statement and sign their name to it. The statement may be anything from a commitment to volunteer in the community to reaching out to new people throughout the semester, said Dean of Students Gerald Stebbins.

Students can write down what Dr. King’s message has meant to them, including how he made the world a better place and how today’s society can continue his legacy. Students will also have the opportunity to register to volunteer at the Wheeling Area Soup Kitchen for a service learning project.

Mattox first visited Bethany College in August 2013, when students in the Beth Bridge Program invited him to a luncheon after they visited his museum.

“Dr. Mattox made quite an impact on our students who had the opportunity to meet him last year. He helped students understand the progress of racial equality – and talked about the work that still needs to be done,” said President Scott. D. Miller. “Dr. Mattox has said his goal is to preserve black culture and history, and we are honored to have him back to share his message.”

Mattox officially opened the Underground Railroad Museum in 1993, after he learned that the Underground Railroad existed in the Ohio Valley.

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.