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U of M Will Present MLK Human Rights Award and Scholarship April 5 University News
For release: April 2, 2010

For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843

The University of Memphis will present the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Award to Leah C. Wells in a ceremony Monday, April 5, at 2 p.m. in the University Center Theatre. The award recognizes individuals whose activities exemplify non-violent leadership in the pursuit of social justice and human rights.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship also will be awarded at the ceremony. The 2010 recipient is Antedra Alexis Finger, a junior biology major. She is the daughter of Marquazette and Alex Finger of Little Rock.

Leah C. Wells
Leah C. Wells
Wells has long worked on issues of human rights. She taught courses on conflict resolution in Washington, D.C., and in California, where she was recognized by the National Peace Corps Association as the Peace Educator of the Year. In Memphis she has worked on issues of child poverty with The Urban Child Institute and on leadership training through GOT Power, and she has served on the Public Buildings and Purchasing Policies Committee with Sustainable Shelby.

Wells worked with the U of M’s Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change in 2005. She led the nonviolence training at the National Civil Rights Museum for participants in the 2007 march in Jena, La., in support of the Jena Six.  She has published extensively about poverty, human rights, ecology, and economics, and is a regular contributor to The Commercial Appeal’s online publication, “Going Green.”

Wells is now working with BioDimensions and the Memphis Bioworks Foundation on several projects, including publishing a local green-jobs assessment and contributing to a report on strategies for biobased products in the Mississippi Delta. She earned her bachelor of science degree in linguistics from Georgetown University in 1998 and her master’s degree in political science from the U of M in 2005.  She is pursuing her doctorate in political science at the University of Mississippi.

Antedra Alexis Finger
Antedra Alexis Finger
Finger is vice president of the Minority Association for Pre-medical Students (the U of M chapter of the Student National Medical Association), which connects undergraduate students with medical students and physicians in the Memphis area. The organization provides networking experiences, HIV screenings, and blood drives, and collaborates with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to host health fairs in African-American communities. Her goal is to become a neonatologist in a rural area.

The event, which is open to the public, is sponsored by African and African-American Studies and the Office of Diversity at the U of M. For more information, call 901-678-3516.
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