Bernard Lafayette, Jr.In May 1961, Bernard Lafayette, Jr., a student at the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tenn., boarded a bus for Montgomery, Ala. That trip, a “Freedom Ride,” tested the U.S. Supreme Court’s new ruling that outlawed segregation in places such as bus stations and restaurants. He was badly beaten when he got of the bus, and three of his friends were left unconscious. The South, and the country, clearly had a long road to travel toward racial justice.

On Sept. 14, Lafayette, a Distinguished Senior Scholar-in-Residence at Candler, will discuss his experiences in the civil rights movement and show segments of the 2011 PBS documentary Freedom Riders.

The event marks the debut of Candler’s new Dean’s Lecture Series, a monthly program designed to showcase the compelling life experiences and research of current and visiting faculty. Free and open to the Emory community, the lectures take place the second Wednesday of each month from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in CST 252. Guests who register by noon the Thursday before each lecture will receive a free boxed lunch. To register, visit, navigate to the date of the event, and click “Sign Up.”

The Dean’s Lecture Series: Fall 2011 

Freedom Riders

Wednesday, September 14, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Bernard Lafayette, Jr., Distinguished Senior Scholar-in-Residence, Candler School of Theology

Lafayette will discuss his civil rights work with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his experience during the Freedom Rides. The event includes a partial showing of the documentary film, Freedom Riders. Lafayette’s New York Times op ed on the subject is available here.

The Art of Preaching in the 21st Century

Wednesday, October 12, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Gary V. Simpson, Assistant Professor of Homiletics, Drew University, and Senior Pastor, Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY

Simpson, who pastors in the social change tradition of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and America’s great black ministers, will discuss his thoughts on preaching in today’s complex society. He is visiting Candler as a speaker in “The Art of Preaching” Fall Conference.

The Invention of Voluntary Martyrdom in Early Christianity

Wednesday, November 9, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Candida Moss, Assistant Professor, New Testament and Christian Origins, University of Notre Dame

Moss, the author of The Other Christs: Imitating Jesus in Ancient Christian Ideologies of Martyrdom, will discuss Christian views of suffering and martyrdom. Luke Timothy Johnson, Candler’s R.W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, will moderate the discussion.