Carver Medal recipient encourages students to identify, eliminate oppression

Melvin Talbert recently was honored at the Carver Medal Ceremony and Lecture at Simpson College. | Contributed photo

Retired Bishop Melvin Talbert recently was honored at the Carver Medal Ceremony and Lecture at Simpson College, where he gave a presentation encouraging students to recognize and remove oppression from their lives and communities.

“I will wear this honor with great pride,” Talbert said.

Talbert was raised in Louisiana. When he was in college, he participated in civil rights protests to promote integrating lunch counters. He was put in jail for three days and nights, where his cellmate was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Talbert’s speech, titled “The Intersection of Oppression and Privilege,” encouraged people to make positive changes in their lives and communities.

“Without exception, we are each part of God’s family,” Talbert said.

Many students attended the event in Indianola, Iowa, on Jan. 27. The purpose of the award is to memorialize the legacy and life of George Washington Carver. He first applied to a college that rejected him because of his race; later, he attended Simpson College as the start of his academic career. Previous recipients of the Carver medal include Iowa Tuskegee Airmen, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and the writer Clarence Page.

“Let me be clear,” Jay Simmons, president of Simpson College, said. “Simpson College values every single person on this campus. It’s not simply the right thing to do; it’s also part of our heritage. It’s who we are.”

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