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The Blue & Gray Press | August 20, 2019

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Lecturer honors civil rights legend James Farmer


The University of Mary Washington hosted its first annual James Farmer Lecture on Wednesday, Feb. 20, where Executive Vice President of UMW Healthcare Xavier Richardson honored civil rights activist James Farmer.

Richardson, a Princeton University graduate and recipient of the first James Farmer award, presented the speech among his own family and friends, UMW alumni, students, faculty, James Monroe High School students and members of the James Farmer Scholars Program.

During the lecture, Richardson focused on Farmer’s achievements and work during the Civil Rights Movement and noted how Farmer affected Richardson’s own life.

Through a memoir of both Farmer’s life and his own, Richardson explained what an impact James Farmer had on UMW and the community.

“[Farmer] became involved in the community and campus because he loved the university and it loved him,” said Richardson.

Because of Farmer’s contribution to civil rights and UMW, the University works to keep Farmer’s memory alive through the James Farmer Multicultural Center and the James Farmer Scholars Program.

“[It is] so fascinating to see young people who are so interested – in just the past couple years – in capturing the spirit of the James Farmer Foundation,” said Richardson in his lecture.

At the closing of the lecture, UMW President Rick Hurley stated that the James Farmer lecture will be an annual event, and then presented Richardson with the James Farmer award.

Richardson accepted the award and expressed his admiration for UMW’s involvement with James Farmer.

“UMW should be very proud to maintain his legacy,” said Richardson.

Senior history and political science double major Jeremy Thompson attended the lecture.

“It was a very good lecture for starters, I thought Xavier Richardson did a fantastic job,” said Thompson. “I serve with him on the board visitors for the university [Richardson] is always very attentive to student needs, very active in the community and he a great role model.”