January 11, 2010
Elizabeth Blevins, Director, Office of Communications
Office: (740) 351-3810; FAX: (740) 351-3179; Cell: (740) 464-4854
940 Second Street – Portsmouth, Ohio 45662
Web site: www.shawnee.edu
"I have a dream that my four little children will one
day live in a nation where they will not be judged by
the color of their skin, but by the content of their
character." – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Guest Speaker for MLK Event Marched With the Civil Rights
In observation of the United States holiday, “Martin Luther
King Jr. Day of Service,” Shawnee State University has
invited Rev. B. Wayne McLaughlin of Chillicothe as guest
speaker for the event at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 13 in the
University Center lobby.
McLaughlin was born and raised in southern Virginia during
the late 1940s when racial segregation was widespread and
considered “normal.” He attended a segregated public school
system in Pittsylvania County, Va., and as a young person he
directly experienced the impact of the overt racial
discrimination that was pervasive in that era.
He was age 8 in 1955 when Rosa Parks sparked the modern
Civil Rights Movement by defiantly sitting on the front seat
of a public bus in Montgomery, Ala.
“Were it not for Dr. King advocating non violence by the
marchers and especially to the students who followed his
direction, I believe it would have been disastrous for
America,” SSU’s Multicultural Affairs Coordinator Matt
McLaughlin was a junior in high school when he had the
opportunity to march with King in 1963 during a civil rights
rally in his home town. And, he was a junior in college and
participated in civil demonstrations when Dr. King was
assassinated in 1968.
“If there was anyone who has first-hand experience from the
trauma of those dark days of the struggle for equality and
civil rights it would be B. Wayne McLaughlin,” Matthews
said. “At the time, I could only read about the dramatic
experiences or watch the TV to get the horrible news – the
news of African American children being bombed in their
church or dogs being set upon the marchers, or fire hoses
being directed towards student and protestors. It was a very
frightening time for many, both black and white.”
McLaughlin clearly credits the Civil Rights Movement and the
work of King and numerous other civil rights workers for
creating the opportunities and successes he has experienced
He graduated with honors from Johnson C. Smith University in
Charlotte, N.C. in 1969. Then through “doors that were
opened” from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and later
Affirmative Action legislation, he began a successful career
in the nuclear industry, primarily in Human Resources.
After retiring as a Human Resources Director from the
Uranium Enrichment Plant in Piketon, Ohio, in 2000,
McLaughlin worked four years as Human Resources director for
the City of Chillicothe and at his present position as the
executive director of Ross County Community Action, a
multi-program social services organization based in
McLaughlin is an ordained Baptist minister, speaking and
singing in numerous services annually throughout
southeastern Ohio. He is a member of more than a dozen
professional, social and civic organizations and has
received numerous professional and community service awards.
He has been married to his wife, Gwen, for 30 years and they
have two daughters, LaShandra and Nikki.