U.Va. Plans Expanded Observance Honoring Martin Luther King

"We must maintain faith in the future."
-- The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
                    from his speech at the University in 1963

December 16, 2010 — Save the date for honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on his birthday Jan. 17. Then save the nine days after that for the University of Virginia's "Community Celebration: Faith in the Future," in honor of the civil rights leader, including reminiscences about his 1963 visit to U.Va.

U.Va. President Teresa Sullivan asked Dr. Marcus Martin, interim vice president and chief officer for diversity and equity, to coordinate events "for a fitting community tribute to honor the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr."

"Since then, he and many members of the University and local communities have put together a compelling program of events that will explore Dr. King's extraordinary contributions," Sullivan wrote in an invitation e-mailed to the University community.

Scheduled from Jan. 16 to Jan. 27, the celebration begins with the local commemoration at Mount Zion First African Baptist Church, and events will cover a range of topics related to King's ideas.

Most activities will take place around Grounds, but some events and details are still to be determined. The programs are free and open to the public, except for a teaching workshop for faculty and graduate students and Sullivan's luncheon with invited guests.

Highlights include:

Clayborne Carson on King
Jan. 17, 4 p.m., Law School's Caplin Pavilion
Carson, professor of history at Stanford University, is editor of King's autobiography and papers. He also founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute. He will visit a new January Term class in the Law School on "What Lawyers Can Learn from the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

Panel Discussion on Health Disparities
Jan. 17, 4:30 p.m., McLeod Hall Auditorium, School of Nursing

Features Dr. Louis Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary of Health, and Dr. Vivian Pinn, the second African-American female to graduate from U.Va.'s School of Medicine. Pinn is director of the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health.

• Diversity in the Classroom as a Path to Better Learning

Jan. 18, 9 a.m., Monroe Hall, room 130
Kathryn M. Plank, associate director of Ohio State's University Center for the Advancement of Teaching, will talk about inclusive education in the plenary session of the Teaching Resource Center's January workshop.

• King in His Own Words

Jan. 19, 11 a.m., Miller Center of Public Affairs
Kent Germany and Michele Rubin will talk about recordings of conversations between King and President Lyndon B. Johnson. Germany, associate professor of history and African American studies at the University of South Carolina, edited the Civil Rights volume in the Presidential Recordings Series with the University of Virginia Press. Michele Rubin, a literary agent at Writers House in New York, represents King's literary estate and recently launched the King Legacy Series with Beacon Press.

• "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"
Jan. 23, 4 p.m., Paramount Theater
Panel discussion and video clips about the book, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," by Rebecca Skloot, with University Professor James Childress, director of the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life. In 1951, a scientist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore created the first immortal human cell line with a tissue sample taken from a young black woman with cervical cancer. Those cells, called HeLa cells, quickly became invaluable to medical research – though their donor remained a mystery for decades.

• Arthur Romano Presentation on Nonviolence Training and Education
Jan. 24, 4 p.m., Auditorium of the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Library
Romano is a World Peace Scholar in England and human rights activist who founded Youth for Peace, an Internet-based program for young people worldwide to share inspiration and information related to community projects.

• "When King Came to Town"
Jan. 25, 6 p.m., Hotel E, Garden Room at the Colonnade Club
King spoke on March 25, 1963, to an estimated 900 people in Old Cabell Hall auditorium about the future of integration. Alumnus Wesley Harris, the second African-American student to live on the Lawn and now a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Paul Gaston, U.Va. professor of history emeritus, hosted King during his visit, and they will discuss their experiences, along with other guest panelists. U.Va. history professor and civil rights activist Julian Bond will moderate.

• Amiri Baraka Reading and Discussion
Jan. 27, 7 p.m., Culbreth Theater
Baraka, a poet, playwright and activist, is the author of more than 40 books of essays, poems, drama, music history and criticism. The award-winning writer has recited poetry and lectured on cultural and political issues extensively in the U.S., the Caribbean, Africa and Europe.

Also, U.Va.'s Office for Diversity and Equity is partnering with local schools to conduct artwork, essay and poetry contests; the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy will partner with Charlottesville High School for a high-school oratory competition; and U.Va. students will form a choral group with area youth to perform at several events.

On Jan. 16, doctors, nurses and health professions students will provide panel discussions, shadowing opportunities and clinical simulation demonstrations for local high school students interested in health careers.

Community and University planning committees are organizing events and dozens of offices, departments, schools and student groups at U.Va. are cosponsoring the celebration.

See the website for information about additional events and changes to the schedule as details are confirmed.

-- by Anne Bromley

Media Contact

Carolyn Dillard

Office of University Communications