Rev. Dr. Joan R. Harrell

Rev. Dr. Joan R. Harrell, visiting assistant professor in the Auburn University School of Communication and Journalism received support from the Auburn University Office of Inclusion and Diversity to write, create and implement intergenerational interfaith programming and launch a digital site ( to provide a communal space for the public square to share their narratives about experiencing Dr. King’s Beloved Community” vision in the 21st century.

During the 2018 Spring Semester, she taught the JRNL 4970-003 Special Topics course, Faith and Communities. Harrell is an award-winning journalist, ordained, American Baptist minister, Vanderbilt University Divinity School Cohort for Public Theology and Racial Justice, former senior associate editor of the Journal of Healthcare, Science and the Humanities and was the crisis communications practitioner (2008-2015) for Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago when the church was politically attacked after it’s parishioner, Senator Barack Hussein Obama became the first African American to become a candidate for the U.S. Democratic Party’s Presidential Primary.

She is currently writing a book about the intersectionality of media, sacralized racism, politics and American Christianity. Dr. Harrell invited her journalism students and school of communication and journalism colleagues, Professor Nan Fairley, Julie Bennett, and their students to become members of the Becoming the Beloved Community Collaborative. 

Professor Nan Fairley

Nan Fairley is an associate professor of the School of Communication & Journalism at Auburn University.  She was the recipient of the 2011 AU Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach and was named a College of Liberal Arts Engaged Scholar. She works with Dr. Mark Wilson on the CLA Living Democracy project and is in her 26th year of teaching journalism.

The philosophy of pushing students “beyond the interstate” has been a cornerstone of her journalism classes. She believes that the educational experience is much richer when students see the impact they can have in communities.  Students in her spring 2018 JRNL 4470 Advanced Magazine/Feature Writing class spent weeks interviewing and producing in-depth packages focused on Becoming the Beloved Community.

Professor Julie Bennett

Julie Bennett is an adjunct professor teaching photojournalism at Auburn University. She is an award-winning photographer, videographer and former photo staff manager who has spent the last 15 years telling Alabama’s stories through the state’s most influential newsrooms. Julie is a 2001 graduate of the Auburn University Department of Communications and Journalism. For the Beloved Community project, Julie's JRNL 3410 photojournalism students captured the moments surrounding the march across campus, reflections from Sarah Collins-Rudolph and community forums held at the museum. 

Becoming the Beloved Community Team (BTBC)


Director Multimedia and Web Designer, Monique "Ty" Cowan


Web Designer, Santoria Dunlap

Digital Designer, Jaylin Goodwin

BTBC Videographer, Tae Kim 

(LaFayette, Moss and Collins-Rudolph)

Public Relations, Kate Stewart


Social Media, Taylor Jordan


BTBC Writers

Melissa Mitchell

Amy Robertson

Melissa B. Manuel. Ph.D.

Cathlene Cowart

Ingrid Schnader

Madison Harvey

Monique Ty Cowan

Olivia Taylor  

Courtney Shea

Chris Heaney

Marisa Connally

Ashton Brock

Morgan Kirkland



Auburn University Office of Inclusion and Diversity


Alabama Rural Ministry

Auburn University School of Communication and Journalism

Auburn Ministerial Association

Auburn University Black Student Union

Auburn University College of Liberal Arts Office of Communications and Marketing

Auburn University Harold A. Franklin Society

Auburn University Muslim Student Association

Auburn University Wesley Foundation

Islamic Center of Auburn

Jule Collins Smith Museum

Macon County Ministers Council

Tuskegee University Wesley Foundation

Johnny Green, PhD, Auburn University, Vice President of Student Affairs

The Rev. Dr. John Wells Warren, Priest and Chaplain, Auburn University St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church

Mark A. Wilson, PhD, Director, Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities

Becoming the Beloved Community


Becoming the Beloved Community
Auburn University