Anti-Racism Activist Jane Elliott To Deliver Keynote For Texas A&M’s MLK Breakfast
The MSC Carter G. Woodson Black Awareness Committee at Texas A&M University welcomes educator and anti-racism activist Jane Elliott to deliver the keynote address of the 14th Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast on Jan. 21, 2021.
Organizers said the event, which serves as an observance of the MLK holiday on Jan. 18, 2021, is a way to reflect on the life and legacy of King. They said the aim of the event is to provide a space to learn in depth how King’s efforts are still in effect today, and how to collectively continue his legacy in the future.
Elliott is an American schoolteacher who is perhaps best known for her “Blue Eyes–Brown Eyes” exercise. She first conducted her famous exercise for her class on April 5, 1968, the day after King was assassinated. In the exercise, children with brown eyes were treated more favorably than children with blue or green eyes in order to portray the effects of discrimination.
When her local newspaper published compositions that the children had written about the experience, the reactions (both positive and negative) formed the basis for her career as a public speaker against discrimination. After leaving her school, Elliott became a diversity educator full-time. She still holds the exercise and gives lectures about its effects across the U.S. and around the world.
“Jane Elliott’s presence will be great for the Texas A&M community, especially because of how the campus and world climate have been since this past summer,” said Tiara Kinnebrew ’21, sociology major and special projects director for MSC WBAC. “At Texas A&M, the focus is to graduate future leaders representing the six core values of our university, and Jane Elliott will no doubt kick the movement into overdrive.”
Melany Pearl, program advisor to MSC WBAC, said Elliott’s social justice work inside and outside of the classroom have proven to be the foundation of what is known today as allyship.
“Ms. Elliott brings the hard truth to matters in order to ignite substantive change,” Pearl said. “I look forward to her meaningful conversation with us that will point back to Dr. King’s dream for the United States.”