News & Events

Dr. Zan Wesley Holmes Speaks at Mars Hill University for Black History Month

Zan Wesley Holmes Jr02Dr. Zan Wesley Holmes, Jr., pastor, professor, politician, community activist, and civil rights leader, will be speaking at Mars Hill University on February 16, 2015, at noon in Broyhill Chapel. The event is free and open to the public. It is part of a full line-up of events planned at the university throughout February for Black History Month.

Holmes is Pastor Emeritus of St Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas TX, where he served for 28 years. He was Adjunct Professor of Preaching at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University for 24 years.

Known as much for his community activism as his preaching and teaching, Holmes was elected as the first African-American to the Texas House of Representatives from 1968-1972, while he also served as a United Methodist District Superintendent. He was on the Board of Regents of the University of Texas from 1992 to 1997.

In 2001, he was recognized as one of the civil rights movement’s “Invisible Giants” in the National Voting Museum and Institute in Selma, Alabama.

"We're so excited to welcome Dr. Zan Wesley Holmes to Mars Hill University as part of our month-long celebration of Black History Month," said Alaysia Black-Hackett, Director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. "Dr. Holmes has been a community leader and activist throughout his career, and has participated in historic movements that we look back on today as turning points in the struggle for civil rights. We are honored to give our students the opportunity to hear from him."

Holmes' visit to MHU follows an address February 3 during Mars Hill's weekly Crossroads chapel service by Melvin Bray, Emmy award-winning storyteller, writer, educator and social entrepreneur. The university also hosted an evening event on February 4 featuring Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP.

Other events planned for Black History Month include

  • a showing of the movie "Dear White People," on February 12,
  • a "rap battle" for students on February 16, sponsored by the Black Student Association,
  • a fellowship meal on February 19 featuring traditional "soul food", and
  • a Poetry Slam on February 26 featuring Moody Black and Kimbi of Greenville, SC, who will perform for students as well as judge poetry slam entries. Moody Black and Kimbi are spoken word and musical performers who make up the group, Unifyed Sol Poets. This event will take place in Spainhour Hall, February 26 at 7 pm and is open to the public.

In addition, on February 19, the university will provide transportation for students to hear professor, filmmaker, writer and activist Henry Louis Gates, Jr. at UNC Asheville.