Miami University names voting rights activist as spring commencement speaker

OXFORD — Miami University has chosen a speaker for the commencement ceremony May 15.

Dr. Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, a voting rights activist, will join the 2021 graduates and say a few words as they officially become Miami University Alumni.

Jefferson-Jenkins is the former president of the League of Women Voters and graduate of Western College in 1974.

She was the first woman of color to be elected president.

“Throughout her illustrious career, Dr. Jefferson-Jenkins has dedicated herself to affirming and upholding our country’s democracy,” said Greg Crawford, President of Miami University.

“Time and again she has used her voice and her platform to protect and expand voting rights, encouraging all to participate in the electoral process. Through her example, our graduates will be inspired to use their Miami education to serve, lead, and build a better future for all.”

Jefferson-Jenkins is the author of The Road to Black Suffrage and One Man, One Vote: The History of the African-American Vote in the United States, stated a media release from the university.

Her most recent book, The Untold Story of Women of Color in the League of Women Voters, was released last year in honor of the organization’s centennial celebration.

Jefferson-Jenkins is now an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Miami University has not yet made a decision on whether or not the commencement ceremony will be in-person or virtual.

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