Cornell University Launches New Human Rights Institute Named After Civil Rights Icon Dorothy Cotton

Cornell University has established the Dorothy Cotton Institute to honor the longtime civil rights activist and former director of student activities at the university.

Cotton, now 80 years old, worked directly with Martin Luther King Jr. as the education director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She was registered in the room next to King at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on the day King was assassinated.

The new institute aims to become an internationally renowned education and resource center to “develop, nurture, and train leaders for a global human rights movement; build a network and community of human rights leadership; and explore, share and promote practices that transform individuals and communities, opening new pathways to peace, justice and healing.”

The institute will hold an annual conference and conduct education and training programs on human rights.