DelVal faculty member to help commemorate the first Civil Rights bus boycott

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Dr. Craig Stutman, a Delaware Valley University assistant professor of history and policy studies and co-chair of the Toni Morrison Society's Bench By the Road Project, will be assisting in the placement of the Society's 17th bench in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday, Feb. 6. The new bench will commemorate the 1953 Baton Rouge Bus Boycott, which was led by the late Rev. T.J. Jemison.

“The boycott helped pave the way for the eventual integration of Baton Rouge’s city buses,” said Dr. Stutman. “A young Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would meet with Rev. Jemison in order to obtain advice for the Montgomery Improvement Association's Montgomery Bus Boycott only two years later in 1955.”

The Bench by the Road Project is a public history initiative that places benches at important African-American history sites.

Each bench tells a compelling story from African-American history. Dr. Stutman has been involved with many of the benches (including the upcoming one) placed by the Toni Morrison Society helping with everything from historical research; to writing the narratives that appear on the plaques that accompany the benches; to working with the communities, institutions, and organizations receiving them to plan dedications.

Before the bench placement ceremony, there will be a celebration with music, poetry and speeches at the McKinley High School Alumni Center in Baton Rouge. A live dance production entitled, "The Fading Line: A Commemoration of the 1953 Baton Rouge Bus Boycott," will also be performed at the event.

To learn more about the Toni Morrison Society’s Bench by the Road Initiative, please visit: