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Emory's King Week honors the life, legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Lectures, community recognition awards and opportunities to help others are among Emory’s events to celebrate the life and work of civil rights legend Martin Luther King Jr. Photo by Dick DeMarsico. Public domain as part of the New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection (Library of Congress).

Emory will celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. this month with speakers, community recognition awards and an opportunity to help others with a “Day On” of community service.

Campus events kick off this Thursday — before the Jan. 15 holiday — with a special lecture in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day featuring the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, who will speak at 6 p.m. in Tull Auditorium at Emory University School of Law.

Since 2005, Warnock has served as the senior pastor of Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, which was founded in 1886 and is known as King’s spiritual home and for its ongoing legacy of social activism. Warnock graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Morehouse College, and holds a master of divinity, master of philosophy and PhD in systemic theology from Union Theological Seminary. His lecture will be followed by a reception in Hunter Atrium. Admission is free, but those attending should RSVP.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day — Monday, Jan. 15 — is a university holiday, but at Emory the week ushers in an array of activities and service projects to honor the famed civil rights leader. Since classes begin Jan. 16-17, Emory’s traditional MLK “Day On” of community service will be held Feb. 3 on the Atlanta campus and Jan. 20 on the Oxford College campus.

Here is a current schedule of Emory’s King Week events:

Thursday, Jan. 11

MLK Day Lecture, 6 p.m., Tull Auditorium, Gambrell Hall

The Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, will speak. The son of two Pentecostal pastors, Warnock is the fifth and youngest person called to the senior pastorate of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. His activism was honored in 2016 when his footprints were placed on the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame. Hosted by Emory Law, the event is free; reception to follow.

Monday, Jan. 15 — MLK Day Holiday 

Day of Service at Branan Towers, 2:30-4:30 p.m., Glenn Memorial UMC

Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church is sponsoring an MLK Day of Service to assist residents at Branan Towers Senior Living in East Atlanta. Volunteers may meet at the church at 2 p.m. to carpool and bus to the site. For more information, email the Rev. Brent Huckaby.

Wednesday, Jan. 17

King Week keynote, 5 p.m., Cox Hall Ballroom

Tim Wise, one of the nation’s most prominent antiracist essayists and educators, will present a lecture in observance of Emory’s King Week celebration. Wise’s antiracism work traces back to his days as a college activist in the 1980s fighting for divestment from — and economic sanctions against — apartheid South Africa. Following graduation, Wise pursued social justice as a youth coordinator and associate director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism. He has served as an adjunct professor at the Smith College of Social Work  and served as an adviser to the Fisk University Race Relations Institute. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Emory’s Department of African American Studies and Campus Life.

MLK Celebration, 7:30 p.m., Old Church, Oxford College

This year’s celebration features speaker Beverly Daniel Tatum, a clinical psychologist and higher education thought leader known for her expertise on race relations, along with music from Oxford College and community choirs. Tatum served 13 years as Spelman College president and has written extensively on racial identity development, race in the classroom and strategies for creating inclusive campus environments. The program will include selected readings from King and other civil rights leaders, as well as presentations from Oxford students. Voices of Praise gospel choir, Oxappella and the Newton County MLK Interdenominational Choir will perform.

Thursday, Jan. 18 

MLK Celebration and Community Service Awards, 4 p.m., Claudia Nance Rollins Auditorium, Rollins School of Public Health

For more than 20 years, Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health and Goizueta Business School have partnered to present the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards. With a theme of “Uniting in Divisive Times,” this year’s program features guest speaker James Bailey, chair and co-founder of the Phoenix Leadership Foundation, which is dedicated to funding and creating programs that provide positive role models for young black men. Though its auxiliary programs, the foundation has reached thousands of young men across Metro Atlanta. The program also recognizes members of the greater metro Atlanta community who raise awareness of social injustice, speak on behalf of justice, celebrate diversity and impel action in building a better future. The ceremony is free and open to the public. 

Saturday, Jan. 20

MLK Day of Service, Oxford College

Members of the Oxford College community are encouraged to volunteer for the 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. For more information or to register to attend, contact Ricardo Horne at

Sunday, Jan. 21

2018 Beloved Community Worship, 11 a.m., Cannon Chapel

The Rev. Dominque A. Robinson — affectionately known as Rev. D — will preach at a service that also features Emory’s Voices of Inner Strength Gospel Choir. Lunch will follow in Brooks Commons. Scholar, teacher and award-winning Christian leader, Robinson is currently serves as the youth and young adult pastor at Shaw Temple AME Zion Church in Smyrna, Georgia. She earned a BA in government and psychology from Georgetown University and a masters of theology from Emory’s Candler School of Theology. She is a 2017 graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary, where she earned a doctorate of ministry in gospel and culture.

Saturday, Feb. 3

Volunteer Emory’s “Day On” Day of Service, varying times

Members of the Emory community are invited to honor King’s legacy by taking time to offer a “day on.” To learn more about community service projects or to volunteer, visit Volunteer Emory’s Days of Service page, where information will be posted as the event nears.

Emory University King Week events are supported by the Department of African American Studies, Emory Campus Life, Emory University School of Law, Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church, Goizueta Business School, Oxford College Religious and Spiritual Life, Rollins School of Public Health, the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life and Volunteer Emory.

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