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ITHACA, N.Y. — The community is invited to Tompkins County Public Library at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28 for the dedication of Jewels, a painting by Terry Plater given in honor of Dr. Dorothy Cotton.

Artist Terry Plater, library director Annette Birdsall, community leader Aloja Airewele and others will gather near the entry rotunda of the library to unveil and dedicate the painting, share remarks, and enjoy light refreshments.

The painting, Jewels by Terry Plater, oil on canvas, 2017, was donated to Tompkins County Public Library in honor of Dr. Dorothy Cotton (1930 – 2018). Born in Goldsboro, N.C., Dr. Cotton began working for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) along with Reverend Wyatt T. Walker in the early 1960s. She went on to become an esteemed educator and leader in the Civil Rights Movement and as a member of the “inner circle” of the SCLC. During the Carter Administration, she served as the Southeastern Regional Director for the Federal Government’s volunteer program agency, ACTION. In 1982, she became the Director of Student Activities at Cornell University. In 1991, Dr. Cotton founded Dorothy Cotton & Associates, a consulting firm focused on “leadership development, individual empowerment and social change.”

“We are honored to have this painting as part of the Tompkins County Public Library’s permanent art collection,” remarked Suzanne Smith Jablonski, executive director of the Tompkins County Public Library Foundation. “This convergence of a generous donor and a celebrated artist has provided us with a springboard for remembering the work and impact of Dr. Cotton for years to come.”

The library will host a complementary program honoring Dorothy Cotton later in the year.

For more information, contact the Tompkins County Public Library Foundation at

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