ITHACA, N.Y. — The life and legacy of civil rights icon Dorothy Cotton will be celebrated at a community event Aug. 11 at Cornell University.
Cotton, a longtime community member and pioneer of civil rights, died peacefully June 10 at Kendal at Ithaca. She was 88.
She was one of the “most important unsung heroes of the Civil Rights Movement,” her biography on the Dorothy Cotton Institute states.
Cotton worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was education director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She led the Citizen Education Program, which helped black citizens register to vote, and helped people understand their civil rights, organize their communities and envision the change they desired.
Guest speakers will include three civil rights leaders: John R. Lewis, winner of the Congressional Medal of Freedom; Andrew Young, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and mayor of Atlanta; and William Barber II, a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Others from the community and around the country who knew Cotton will also speak.
The event will include a performance by the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers.
The event will go from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 11 in Bailey Hall at Cornell University. It is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.
Tickets are not available online, but they are available at several spots around Ithaca. Stop by the following locations:
- Downtown Ithaca Visitor Center, 171 Center Ithaca, on the Commons
- Tompkins County Public Library, 101 East Green St, Ithaca
- 119 Anabel Taylor Hall, 548 College Ave, on Cornell Campus
- Africana Library, 310 Triphammer Rd, on Cornell Campus
- Greater Ithaca Activities Center, 301 W Court St, Ithaca, NY
- Southside Community Center, 305 S Plain St, Ithaca, NY
Featured image: Dorothy Cotton teaches in a Citizen Education Program class. Bob Fitch photography archive, © Stanford University Libraries