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HAWKINS – A civil rights leader and one of Louisiana’s favorite sons is coming to East Texas.

            The Honorable Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, will keynote Jarvis Christian College’s Black History Celebration, set for 11 a.m. Tuesday February 26 in Smith-Howard Chapel on the Jarvis campus.

The event is free and open to the public.

            Morial, a two-term mayor of New Orleans, descends from one of Louisiana’s most prominent political families. His father, the late Ernest N. “Dutch” Morial, was New Orleans’ first African America mayor and also served two terms. His mother, Sybil Haydel Morial, was a teacher and university administrator.

            Ernest Morial was the first African American to graduate from the Louisiana State University Law School in Baton Rouge. The junior Morial served two years in the Louisiana State Senate and was named its Rookie of the Year in 1992.

            Marc Morial was the impetus for the city’s resurrection in the 1990s and left office with a 70 percent approval rating. During his tenure, New Orleans experienced unprecedented growth. Violent crimes and murders dropped 60 percent, the unemployment rate was cut in half and the city’s poverty rate also fell. On his watch, New Orleans won the All-American City Award in 1996 for the first time in half a century.

            Marc Morial earned an undergraduate degree in economics and African American studies from the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from Georgetown University. He has honorary degrees from Xavier University, Wilberforce University and the University of South Carolina Upstate.

            Before entering public service, Morial worked at Adams and Reese, one of the Gulf South’s top law firms. He was appointed to his current post in 2003.

            He has been recognized by Non-Profit Times as one of America’s top 50 executives, and as one of the “100 Most Influential Blacks in America” by Ebony magazine.

            Morial is past president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, having served during the 9/11 crisis and was one of the champions of the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the federalism of airport security screeners.

             He serves on the executive committee member of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Black Leadership Forum and Leadership 18. He is a board member of the Muhammad Ali Center.

            Please plan to attend what promises to be an engaging and rewarding event.