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Steve C.
Democrat TN 9

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  • Congratulating Beverly Robertson on Receiving the 2014 Be the Dream Mlk Legacy Award

    by Representative Steve Cohen

    Posted on 2014-01-16

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    COHEN of tennessee in the house of representatives Thursday, January 16, 2014 Mr. COHEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Beverly Robertson on receiving the 2014 Be the Dream MLK Legacy Award. This special award is given to those individuals whose lives have ``embodied the spirit and legacy of service, sacrifice and hope'' that characterized the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As the President of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee for the past 17 years, it is fitting that this award be bestowed upon Beverly Robertson in recognition of her accomplishments and contributions.

    Beverly Robertson attended Memphis State University where she earned her BA degree in 1973. While there, she was active in the student body and became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, an organization well known for academic excellence, commitment to service, and providing assistance and support in local communities throughout the world. In 2013, the College of Education, Health and Human Services Alumni Chapter inducted her into its Hall of Fame.

    For 19 years, Mrs. Robertson worked in corporate America before starting a successful business with her husband, Howard. In 1997, she was selected to be president of the National Civil Rights Museum, which is housed in the transformed Lorraine Motel--the location of Dr. King's tragic assassination. While she expressed concerns about her qualification for such a prestigious position, she pushed any doubts aside and said that she knows ``how to treat people'' and ``how to manage a business.'' With these and other skills will in hand, the museum, its visitors and the city of Memphis have been well-served under her leadership.

    Under her 17-year tenure as president, from which she is now preparing for a much deserved retirement, Beverly was instrumental in elevating the museum to new heights. She oversaw two major renovation projects, which included a 12,800-square-foot addition dedicated to the examination of Dr. King's assassination and the continuing struggle for civil rights, and a $27 million renovation that is scheduled to open in March of 2014 and will add new exhibit space, more automation, state-of the art interactivity, an educational and cultural center, and a redesigned lobby. She has overseen 16 Freedom Awards programs honoring iconic leaders such as U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter as well as other notable figures including Rosa Parks, the Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey, Elie Wiesel, and Nelson Mandela. As a result of her dedication, the museum is a strong, fiscally sound and national recognized organization.

    Beverly Robertson has been a true visionary at the National Civil Rights Museum and while I congratulate her on her upcoming retirement, her presence at the museum will be missed. There is no doubt that her work is worthy of this award named after Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Mr. Speaker, I ask all of my colleagues to join me in congratulating Beverly Robertson on being awarded the 2014 Be the Dream MLK Legacy Award.


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