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2004 Flag Day Celebration Participants and Panelists

Keynote Speaker Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte is known worldwide for his long and distinguished commitment to promoting human rights throughout the world; and has been recognized and awarded countless times for his humanitarian work. In the early 1960s he became the entertainment industry’s first cultural adviser to the Peace Corps. He has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since l987. In l985, he was instrumental in raising 70 million dollars for emergency aid to Africa, by helping bring together notable performers to record ‘We Are the World’. In 2000 Harry Belafonte received the Ronald McDonald House Charities’ Award of Excellence. In 2003 he accepted the Distinguished American Award from the John F. Kennedy Library and Foundation.

Moderator Joan C. Browning

Humanities Scholar and writer Joan C. Browning is a tireless activist and speaker for racial equality and social justice. She was a member of the SNCC from 1961-65, and was jailed for her activities as a Freedom Rider during the Civil Rights Movement. Her story is featured in the book Deep in Our Hearts: Nine White Women in the Freedom Movement. She has received numerous awards including the governor of West Virginia's Martin Luther King Jr. Living the Dream Award in 2002.

In a Civil Rights Interview request by the Civil Rights Movement Veterans Website, when asked "What would you tell others who seek to change unfair laws and attitudes?", Joan Browning replied:

Deep in Our Hearts : Nine White Women in the Freedom Movement; Constance Curry (Editor)
Joan C. Browning's Homepage

Frank Spicer, Publisher WV Daily News

Mr. Spicer’s media career began when he was a student at City University of New York on a visit to the CBS-TV studios. Part of his military service in Japan was as an announcer for the military’s Far East Network and as a columnist for the base newspaper. He worked at radio stations in New York and Ohio.

His Greenbrier Valley media career began as WRON radio’s Program Director, moving up to WRON’s Station Manager. In his thirty year career with West Virginia Daily News, the staff have won awards for excellence in reporting in competition with much larger newspapers.

Rev. Dexter Taylor, Old Stone Presbyterian Ch.

The Rev. Dexter Taylor has served as pastor to Lewisburg’s Old Stone Presbyterian Church for the past eighteen years.

Allen Johnson, Director, Pocahontas County Library

Mr. Johnson is a member of the Intellectual Freedom Committee of the WV Library Association.

Dr. Richard Kerr

Dr. Kerr has "a passion for liberty and our Constitution"; and has been active in the West Virginia and National Libertarian Party, most recently serving 5 years as chairman of the Libertarian Party of West Virginia. "I believe that our republic was and is great because it redefined the proper role of government in a free society." Memberships and Sponsorships:

E. Lavoyd Morgan, Jr., attorney

"J.R." Morgan is a criminal defense attorney with additional experience in domestic relations, personal injury, civil litigation and pro bono work. Mr. Morgan is a graduate of Concord College and Campbell University School of Law.

William D. Turner, attorney

William D. Turner is a partner in the Lewisburg office of the law firm of Crandall, Pyles, Haviland, Turner & Smith, LLP. Before joining the firm, he was a Law Clerk to the Honorable Elizabeth V. Hallanan, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of West Virginia. He graduated from the University of North Carolina law school in 1985, and received his undergraduate degree there in 1981. He is admitted to practice before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals; U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Northern Districts of West Virginia; U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and Third Circuits; and U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Turner is a member of the ACLU, numerous professional organizations, and has presented continuing legal education classes on civil rights and civil liberties issues.

The Hon. Mary Pearl Compton, former WV State Delegate

In West Virginia, Mary Pearl been a consistent leader on environmental and social justice issues. She served as a WV State Delegate for over 14 years, part of that time as Chairman of the Health and Human Resources Committee. In 2002 she was awarded the Defense of Our Democracy award by the WV Citizen's Action Group, and was called the "conscience of the House of Delegates".

Rev. Nelson Staples III, NAACP

Rev. Nelson E. Staples, III is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, White Sulphur Springs, WV. He holds an MA in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, Liberty University; and is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program there.

While ministering to the community at large, Rev. Staples has served on the State Board of Directors for the Black Diamond Girl Scout Council, the State Bd. of Directors for PBS, the Boards of Directors for Beckley-Raleigh County YMCA, the WV Fellowship Home, and the Raleigh County Women's Resource Center.