The Middle Tennessee State University community will once again speak the words that ordained and established America during the annual Constitution Week observance Sept. 13-15, then learn how to put those words into action Monday, Sept. 19, with a discussion on community organizing.
Students, faculty, staff, alumni and the public can gather daily beginning Tuesday, Sept. 13, at sites across campus for 75-minute-long readings of the Constitution.
Those readings will also inspire participants who join the Rev. Allyn Maxfield-Steele, co-executive director of the historic Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee, for a 3 p.m. “Organizing and Movement Building Workshop” in Tucker Theatre Sept. 19. It’s also free and open to the public.
The university’s traditional outdoor public readings of the historic American document are being coordinated by the MTSU chapter of the American Democracy Project. Volunteers can walk up, join the line of readers and take their turn reading a brief section of the Constitution aloud.
The 75-minute-long public Constitution readings began Sept. 13 at 10 a.m.at the Kennon Sports Hall of Fame building and featured readers from MTSU Athletics and the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences.
• On Wednesday, Sept. 14, readings continue at 10 a.m. at the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building, located at 1735 Blue Raider Drive, where participants from the College of Media and Entertainment, Jones College of Business and the James E. Walker Library will gather.
• At 12:45 p.m. Sept. 14, volunteers from the University Honors College and MTSU’s Student Government Association will read the Constitution outside the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building, 1737 Blue Raider Drive.
• On Thursday, Sept. 15, at 9 a.m., volunteers from the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts will lead the campus community at MTSU’s Science Building, located at 440 Friendship St., for the Constitution readings.
• The final readings are set to begin at 11 a.m. Sept. 15 at the College of Education Building, 1756 MTSU Blvd., with volunteers from the College of Education and MTSU’s University College.
Saturday, Sept. 17, is Constitution Day, the 235th anniversary of the signing of the document in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. Thirty-nine delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed their names that day in 1787 to outline the rights and duties of citizens of the newly created nation.
Voter registration also will be available on campus from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day and at https://mtsu.edu/vote anytime.
‘Grassroots Organizing’ at MTSU
On Sept.19, the Highlander Center’s Maxfield-Steele will continue the American quest for activism and social justice with “Grassroots Organizing and Movement Building Are in Tennessee’s DNA: Highlander Comes to MTSU.”
At the event in Tucker Theatre, located inside MTSU’s Boutwell Dramatic Arts Auditorium at 615 Champion Way, Maxfield-Steele will offer attendees a history of the work of the Highlander Center and how they can help it continue today.
The discussion is part of MTSU’s Honors Lecture Series, presented by the University Honors College and focusing this fall on youth activism.
The Highlander Center opened in 1932 near Monteagle, Tennessee, as the Highlander Folk School, a social justice leadership training school and cultural center that played a critical role in the Appalachian labor movement and the American civil rights movement.
The historic school changed its name in 1961 after the state of Tennessee revoked its charter and confiscated its land and buildings. The center moved to its current location near New Market, Tennessee, in 1972.
Maxfield-Steele, who lives in the Asheville, North Carolina, area, has worked with Thai people’s solidarity movements and as an educator and organizer in South Carolina, Nashville and throughout the South. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), he was chair and a board member of the Highlander Center’s board of directors before joining as co-executive director in 2016.
Like the Constitution readings, Maxfield-Steele’s event is free, and the public is welcome.
A campus parking map is available at https://bit.ly/MTSUParking. Off-campus visitors can obtain a one-day permit at https://mtsu.edu/parking/visit.php, park in the university’s Rutherford Boulevard Lot, and ride the Raider Xpress shuttle to their events’ locations.
For more information about the American Democracy Project at MTSU, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://mtsu.edu/amerdem.
— Gina E. Fann (email@example.com)