The Martin Luther King Coalition Speakers Bureau

The Martin Luther King Coalition sponsors a variety of opportunities for individuals and groups to learn about and celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Speakers Bureau is one such opportunity. We have people available to speak to your class or organization. Please contact speakers directly to make arrangements.

Arnie Alpert

4 Park St. Suite 209
Concord NH 03301
(603) 224-2407

Arnie Alpert is New Hampshire Program Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization dedicated to social justice, civil rights, and nonviolent change. As Communications Director for the Martin Luther King Day Committee, he documented the 20-year effort to establish a New Hampshire holiday honoring Dr. King, and has written and spoken frequently on the topic. He also speaks and leads workshops on the theory and practice of nonviolence, and on overcoming racism.

Valerie Cunningham

Huddleston Hall, Rm 329
University of New Hampshire 03824
(603) 862-3520

Valerie Cunningham is Community Programs Coordinator for the Black Heritage Partnership at the University of New Hampshire, and is founder of the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, Inc. A student of African-American history in northern New England since her teens, she has documented the lives of many local Black residents, from enslavement to the Civil Rights Movement in New Hampshire. She is co-author with Mark J. Sammons of Black Portsmouth: Three Centuries of African American Heritage. Valerie is active in the Seacoast African American Cultural Center, the Portsmouth-Accra Sister City Connection, the Seacoast NAACP and other social justice organizations

Dr. Arthur Hilson

2 Joffre Terrace
Portsmouth NH 03801
(603) 431-7310 or 433-7343

Dr. Arthur Hilson is President of the American Baptist Churches of Vermont & New Hampshire, and Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church of Portsmouth. He also serves as a Commissioner of Human Rights for New Hampshire. During the 1960s, he marched in the South with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He is the founding president of the Portsmouth Chapter of the SCLC and the Amherst Branch of N.A.A.C.P. Dr. Hilson currently teaches history at Portsmouth High School. He has also taught at University of Massachusetts and University of New Hampshire. He has facilitated over 500 workshops for educational, corporations and the Government.

Jim Kates

PO Box 221
Fitzwilliam NH 03447
(603) 585-3347

Jim Kates, a writer and poet, worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee on voter registration and community organization in Mississippi in the mid-sixties. He is the publisher of Letters from Mississippi: Personal Reports from Civil Rights Volunteers of the 1964 Freedom Summer, edited by Elizabeth Sutherland Martínez. He is available to speak on historical aspects of civil rights, and has developed a series of role-playing workshops to help junior high, senior high, and college students understand the Freedom Movement and explore connections between historic civil rights activism and their own lives. Trained in nonviolent theory and practice, Jim also conducts workshops and training in nonviolence and direct action.

Norman Zane Knoy

PO Box 248
Manchester NH 03105
(603) 669-0449

Zane Knoy retired from the Manchester campus of Springfield College’s School of Human Services. As Assistant Professor of Human Services, Zane taught classes on Race, Religion, and Culture as well as Gerontology. He has been actively locally and nationally in civil rights since the late 1960s, including 12 years as Pastor of an integrated church in Lynn, Massachusetts and involvement with North Shore Committee for Equal Opportunity, the NAACP, and Encounter for Ecumenical Action. Zane has also conducted training for Black churches in Louisiana on how to minister effectively to older members of their congregations, and has been active in elder rights issues at the local and state level in NH. He participated in the 1963 March on Washington and the last day of the March to Selma.

Rev. Bertha Perkins

48 ½ Vine St.
Nashua NH 03060
(603) 886-2803(h), 594-0531(w)

The Rev. Perkins is organizing pastor of New Fellowship Baptist Church in Nashua. Her inner city ministry, conducted with several local organizations, focuses on children and education. A civil rights activist since her youth in Manchester, Rev. Perkins serves on the N.H. Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She is also past president of the United Baptist Convention’s Women’s Auxiliary.

John M. Pratt

Sargent Hill Farm
Walpole NH 03608
(603) 756-9528

John M. Pratt served as Legal Counsel to the National Council of Churches Commission on Religion and Race from 1963 to 1966, then served as Executive Director of the Southern California Council of Churches Commission on Church and Race from 1966 to 1968. He was a founder of the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee which sent hundreds of volunteer attorneys to the South during the summer of 1964. Mr. Pratt defended civil rights workers in cases in Mississippi and Florida and argued and won the first civil rights victory in the Mississippi Supreme Court (Mississippi v. Guyot). He attended the 1963 March on Washington. He currently serves as Selectman in the Town of Walpole and as a member of the NH House of Representatives.

Harvard Sitkoff

223 Cushing Rd.
Newmarket NH 03857
(603) 659-6359

Harvard Sitkoff received his PhD. From Columbia University and has taught American History at UNH for 23 years. He is the author of several books, including The Struggle for Black Equality, A New Deal for Blacks, and A History of Our Time. He is co-author of the college textbook, The Enduring Vision: A History of the United States. Dr. Sitkoff is currently writing a biography of Dr, King. He has also served on the UNH Diversity Committee.

Jim Splaine

83 Willard Ave.
Portsmouth NH 03801
(603) 436-0718

As a State Senator in 1979, Jim Splaine introduced the first proposal to make Dr. King’s birthday a New Hampshire holiday. Elected to the NH House in 1969 as its youngest member, he served 12 years in the House, 6 in the Senate, and 3 terms as Portsmouth’s Assistant Mayor. Jim also sponsored the first ordinance in New Hampshire to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and worked for the statewide law which passed in 1997. As owner of the Splaine Group and director of its 2020 Vision Project, he leads workshops on long-term visioning and preventing workplace discrimination.

T.J. Wheeler

11 Brown Rd.
Hampton Falls NH 03844
(603) 929-0654

Tj Wheeler has over 40 years of experience as an professional Musician / Educator in Blues & Jazz and overall African American Roots music. His presentations explore the role these musical genres have played in struggles for Civil & Human rights. His newest program, “How WE Arrived ....How grassroots music has influenced history of the last Century,” provides a pedagogy for K -12 schools, universities, colleges, libraries and other public & private foundations and corporations to help break down the chain of seemingly inherent, generational biases. Tj’s music and messages have been received by over 500,000 children worldwide. His affiliations include the NH State Council on the Arts, Raising the Blues Foundation, & VSA, His presentations are appropriate for prisons, special needs education, retirement communities, religious congregations, civil rights groups, and schools of all sorts. For more program info, videos, and audio recordings visit

James Young

352 New Rye Rd.
Epsom NH 03234
(603) 736-9279

Rev. James Young is Pastor of New Rye Congregational Church, and serves on the faculty at Middlesex Community College, Rivier College, and UMass Lowell. He grew up in several southern cities, including Little Rock, Jackson, and Montgomery, where his father was an African Methodist Episcopal Minister. Members of his father’s congregations included Rosa Parks and three of the Little Rock Nine. Rev. Young attended Interdenominational Seminary in Atlanta, and received a Ph. D. in the sociology of religion from Boston University.

Other helpful pages