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Dr. William McAtee Presents PAT lecture at UC


Williamsburg, KY.,- The Phi Alpha Theta (PAT) History Society at the University of the Cumberlands (UC) welcomed Dr. William McAtee to the Gatliff Chapel as the guest speaker in their annual series of lectures. The lecture was entitled, “The First Baby Steps in Civil Rights Compliance: One Mississippi Town’s Story 1964-1966.”

Dr. McAtee shared his personal story about living in Columbia, Mississippi during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. He was just a young, Presbyterian minister when the town’s Board of Education decided not to comply with the federal government’s law of desegregating all the school districts.

“It was a world that was separate and unequal,” McAtee said. He explained how Columbia was quiet while the rest of the South was in turmoil. He described how many towns were going up into flames and people of any race were being murdered for their political and social beliefs. Columbia remained silent and incompliant, but soon that changed when a new mayor was elected and the first schools in the district were finally integrated.

“Mississippi’s atmosphere was toxic during the 1960s,” McAtee said. He provided the students insight into their own futures. He told the audience how the world is changing and new issues are rising up. He simply stated that the world is going to change and it is the youth’s obligation to change attitudes through moral persuasion and amend broken hearts.

“You are very important because you’re the next generation,” McAtee said.

Dr. McAtee is a retired Presbyterian minister living in Lexington, Ky. He attended Rhodes College in Tennessee for his undergraduate degree and then was graduated from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, where he later served as a trustee. He was also an executive for Transylvania Presbytery in Lexington until 1997.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; twelve graduate degrees, including two doctorate, two specialist and eight master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information, visit