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Middlebrook Named 2017 CCI Diversity Award Recipient and Keynoter

Rev. Dr. Harold Middlebrook

The College of Communication & Information (CCI) will present Reverend Doctor Harold Middlebrook with the 2017 CCI Diversity Award at the 9th annual CCI Experience Diversity Banquet on Friday, February 17 at 7 p.m. at Buddy’s Banquet Hall in Knoxville. Middlebrook, who will also deliver the banquet keynote, was a friend of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. and a pastor in addition to playing an active role in the civil rights movement.

Middlebrook became involved in the civil rights movement as a student at Morehouse College in the 1960s. While at Morehouse, he met Dr. King and later served as the youth minister for Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where both King and his father served as pastors.

Throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, Middlebrook continued to pastor churches and work with civil rights groups in various roles. In 1968 while an assistant pastor at Middle Baptist Church in Memphis, Middlebrook worked with others to secure Dr. King’s appearance in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers. He was among the group assembled at the Lorraine Motel on April 3rd when Dr. King was assassinated.

Middlebrook was president of the Bolivar Human Development Corporation, an advisor to the Hardeman County Bi-Racial Commission, co-coordinator of the Hardeman County Political Action Commission, and an advisory board member to the Tennessee Public Service Commission. In 1986, he founded the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Commission of Greater Knoxville, which he chaired until 2000.

“We strive to inspire our students and all those who attend the Experience Diversity Banquet to become more open and accepting,” said Alice Wirth, director of the CCI Diversity Student Leaders Society (DSLS). “Reverend Dr. Middlebrook provides a remarkable example of courage and determination for our students, faculty and staff to follow as they work to make the world a better place.”

The banquet is the annual fundraiser for the Diversity Student Leaders Society (DSLS). Proceeds from the banquet are used to support DSLS student field trips and other activities. Tickets are $35 apiece or $350 for a table of ten.  To purchase tickets, contact Beth Cole at or 865-974-1540.