Martin Luther King Commemoration at University of Virginia Focuses on War

Jan. 17, 2008 — This year's commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the University of Virginia will feature a panel discussion, "Chiefly About War Matters," to be held Jan. 21 at 4 p.m. in the Harrison-Small Auditorium.

The event, hosted by U.Va.'s Carter G. Woodson Institute for Afro-American and African Studies and the Office of African-American Affairs, is free and open to the public. A reception immediately follows in the Newcomb Hall main lounge. The program will include a performance by U.Va.'s Black Voices choir and a video of King speaking on why he was opposed to the Vietnam war.

The panel discussion will focus on the following areas: war and civil rights, war and ethnic conflict, the economics of war, and the psychic effects of war.


Rev. Lehman Bates, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church
“The War Within”

Dr. Maurice Apprey, U.Va. dean of the Office of African American Affairs and professor of psychiatry
 “The War Within: Passport To Freedom”

Erva Cockfield, graduate student, U.Va. School of Law
“Youth, Apathy, War”

Herbert Tucker, U.Va. Professor of English and peace activist, "Martin Luther King and the Peace"
Robert Fatton, U.Va. professor of politics
“War And Truth”

"Celebrations of the King holiday typically foreground his civil rights career, but in light of the protracted Iraqi conflict, we think it both timely and appropriate to focus a panel on the end of King's short career, during which time he became an increasingly vocal opponent of the Vietnam War," said English professor Deborah McDowell, interim director of the Woodson Institute. "In many ways, King's anti-war positions, outlined in the controversial speeches he delivered at the Riverside Church in New York City and Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, remain remarkably resonant now 40 years later."

Co-sponsors of the event include the University library's multicultural issues committee and the Law School's Center for the Study of Race and Law.

For information, contact Deborah McDowell at (434) 924-8892 or