Georgia NAACP President and Georgia Southern University alumnus Rev. James “Major” Woodall (’18), will serve as the University’s 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. celebration speaker.  On Jan. 27, Woodall will deliver an address, “Where Do We Go From Here? Chaos or Community,” followed by a Q&A session. The event will be livestreamed for community members to view on Georgia Southern’s Facebook page.

A native of Riverdale, Georgia, Woodall graduated from Georgia Southern with a bachelor’s in political science and a minor in religious studies. Currently, he is in his final year of the Master of Divinity program at the Morehouse School of Religion in the Interdenominational Theological Center and serves as an associate minister at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia.

A respected public theologian and activist, Woodall was named as Georgia Southern’s 2020 Civic Engagement Alumni of the Year and included in the “40 Under 40” Class of 2020.

Woodall, an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve who served as an intelligence analyst, ran for Georgia state representative in 2016. He also served on the state committee of the Democratic Party of Georgia and as state vice president of the Georgia Clients Council. In addition, he was the deputy campaign manager for Francys Johnson’s congressional run and a legislative aide to Georgia State Rep. Miriam Paris for three years.

A Silver-Life member of the NAACP, Woodall previously served as the organization’s state president of the Georgia Youth and College Division, vice president of the Bulloch County branch and state chairman of the Young Adults Committee. In December 2018, he graduated as an inaugural member of the NAACP Next Generation Program, a leadership cohort.