Co-founder of the SPLC Receives The King Center’s Highest Honor


Courtesy of SPLC Facebook

The King Center will bestow its highest honor, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize to Mr. Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The ceremony will take place on the 48th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination in the Yolanda D. King Theatre for the Performing Arts, at 449 Auburn Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30312. The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Atlanta is partnering with The King Center to present the award. The ceremony is free and open to the public.


The Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize has been awarded by The King Center since 1973. Through this award the Center has publically recognized those individuals who have emulated and embodied the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Prize is awarded for the commitment to nonviolence as a way of life through which social justice, human rights, and civil liberties are attained for each individual. The Center also recognizes achievements in eradicating poverty, racism, and the successful quest for alternatives to war. Previous recipients include: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, President Jimmy Carter, Corazon Aquino, Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Ambassador Andrew Young.


Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of The King Center, states “Morris Dees has tirelessly, and bravely championed the rights of the disenfranchised. He has selflessly taken it upon himself to be a beacon of light in the deep south when very few had the courage to stand against the darkness of injustice. Mr. Dees, through the Southern Poverty Law Center, has purposed his life to expose hate and discrimination, and seek justice on behalf of those who have been violated. Our hope on this significant day is that families who have experienced violence as a result of hate would be comforted by this celebration of love’s triumph.”


Mr. Morris Dees is recognized not only as a co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, but also for his extensive work with them fighting numerous hate groups in the courtrooms, and representing the disenfranchised. Morris Dees states, “I’m deeply honored to receive this award. Like millions of other people, I was inspired by Dr. King to do my part in the struggle for equality. When we started the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1971, our goal was simple: We would use the courts to help ensure that the promise of the new civil rights law would become a national reality. I’m thankful that, with the support of many dedicated colleagues and passionate supporters, we’ve been able to make a difference.”


Immediately after the award ceremony, there will be a wreath laying followed by a luncheon at 12:30 p.m. across the street from The King Center at Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Martin Luther King, Sr. Community Resource Complex located at 407 Auburn Avenue, Atlanta, GA. The luncheon cost is $25.00 per person.  The keynote address will be provided by Mr. Morris Dees followed by an interactive dialogue and Q&A with the audience.

Registration for the luncheon is required at


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