Emory honors Martin Luther King Jr. through community service, special events

Emory Report | Jan. 10, 2017

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Emory’s annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy will feature several prominent keynote speakers and lots of opportunities for volunteer service. Photo by Dick DeMarsico. Public domain as part of the New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection (Library of Congress).

Emory's annual King Week celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. features several high-profile speakers, as well as the popular "Day On" for community service.

NAACP President Cornell Brooks visits campus this week to kick off MLK Day events, speaking Thursday, Jan. 12, at an event hosted by Emory Law and the Black Students Law Association. Community organizer and artist Bree Newsome, who made headlines when she scaled the 30-foot flagpole in front of the South Carolina state capitol to remove the Confederate flag in the wake of the racist hate crime at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, speaks on Tuesday, Jan. 17, for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Observance keynote.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day — Monday, Jan. 16 — is a university holiday, but the Emory community can join in variety of service projects to take a "Day On" to help others instead of just a day off.

Here is the current schedule of events:

Thursday, Jan. 12

• Emory School of Law’s MLK Celebration, 6:30 p.m. Tull Auditorium, Gambrell Hall

Cornell Brooks, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), will give a lecture entitled “Why We Can’t Wait: Civil Rights on the Eve of the Trump Inauguration” in conjunction with the Black Law Students Association for the 2017 Emory Law MLK Day Lecture.

Brooks is a civil rights attorney, social justice advocate and fourth-generation ordained minister. He says his vision is of an NAACP that is “multiracial, multiethnic, multigenerational, and millions of members strong.”

Brooks’ lecture will be followed by a reception in Hunter Atrium. For more information, contact A. Kenyatta Greer.


Saturday, Jan. 14

• Experience Shuttle to the Martin Luther King Center, noon-5:30 p.m. Asbury Circle

The Emory College Council is sponsoring a shuttle between noon and 5:30 p.m., leaving from Asbury Circle. For more information, contact Andrew Lee.


Sunday, Jan. 15

• MLK Worship Service, 11 a.m., Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church

Glenn Memorial United Methodist Churchhosts its MLK worship service with Dwight Andrews, associate professor of music theory and African American music at Emory, delivering the sermon.


Monday, Jan. 16

• Emory's Day On, 11 a.m., various locations

Volunteer Emory's last service day of the academic year coincides with the Martin Luther King Day service celebration.

“Instead of seeing it as an extra day of vacation, we here at Volunteer Emory like to use this time to provide meaningful service to the local Atlanta community and reflect on the profound impact one makes when volunteering,” says John Graham.

Sixteen trips and over 300 volunteer spots are open to Emory students, alumni and staff.

"Atlanta’s history in social justice and especially the Civil Rights movement remains to this day deeply entrenched in our identity," Volunteer Emory notes on its website. "Whether Atlanta is just your home away from home or the only home you’ve known, it is important for us to understand the history we are inheriting and the context that influences Atlanta and Emory’s position and response to current social justice issues."

Registration is ongoing through Thursday, Jan. 12, on Volunteer Emory’s Orgsync page, where there are also descriptions of the trips. For more information, contact Graham.


Tuesday, Jan. 17

• Martin Luther King Day keynote, 4 p.m., Winship Ballroom of Dobbs University Center

The Department of African American Studies hosts keynote speaker Bree Newsome for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Observance. Newsome, a community organizer and artist, received wide recognition for scaling the 30-foot flagpole in front of the South Carolina statehouse and removing the Confederate flag after nine people were killed in a racist hate crime at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. The event is free and open to the public.

Newsome’s keynote is co-sponsored by the James Weldon Johnson Institute; Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies; Department of Film & Media Studies; Department of Sociology; and Laney Graduate School. For more information, contact Jessi Nalbantyan.


Wednesday, Jan. 18

• Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Oxford College, 7:30 p.m., Old Church

The Oxford College Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration features music from Voices of Praise gospel choir, Oxappella and the Newton County MLK Interdenominational Choir, which comprises local community members. The program will feature selected readings from King and other leaders of the civil rights movement as well as other greetings from Oxford students.

This year’s featured speaker is Rev. Avis Williams 78Ox 98C 08T, among the first African American students to attend Oxford College.  A native of Newton County and a current city of Oxford resident, Williams is minister for community transformation at Lake Oconee Community Church, where she founded and heads educational enrichment programs that touch the lives of hundreds of local children.

For more information, contact Lyn Pace, Oxford College chaplain.

• "Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women: Why March ?" 8 p.m., Clocktower Commons on the Clairmont Campus  

A conversation will take place with Sheba Ehteshami 09C 11PH, co-organizer of the Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women, which takes place Saturday, Jan. 21.


Thursday, Jan. 19

• Service of the Word: Letter to MLK, 11:05 a.m., Cannon Chapel sanctuary

Woodie White returns to campus to read his annual Letter to MLK. White is Candler School of Theology’s former bishop-in-residence, who retired at the end of last year. Live streaming of this service will be available here.

25th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service Awards, 4 p.m., Goizueta Business School, Room W252

The annual awards are sponsored by Goizueta and the Rollins School of Public Health. This year's keynote speaker is George Yancy, professor of philosophy in Emory College of Arts and Sciences. A reception will follow the event.

For more information, contact Corey Dortch, awards chair.


Friday, Jan. 20

• Voices of Inner Strength Gospel Choir, 7 p.m. Coca-Cola Commons, Dobbs University Center

Emory University's gospel choir performs in the DUC.


Saturday, Jan. 21

• Shuttles to Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women, 11:45 a.m., Student Activity and Academic Center

Sign up for a ride to the rallying point of the march. Shuttles will load beginning at 11:45 a.m. Register at emry.link/xJIUqo.

Sunday, Jan. 22

• University Worship: Celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr., 11 a.m., Cannon Chapel

 The Rev. Tolton R. Pace, a two-time Emory graduate with a B.S. in International Studies and an M.S. in Public Health., will be the special guest preacher. Pace’s multi-faceted ministry includes his service as the Project GRAD Scholarship Coordinator at South Atlanta High School and Youth Pastor at the Impact Church.  The Voices of Inner Strength Gospel Choir will sing.  Lunch is provided following the service.