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Northwestern to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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January 10, 2006 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University will commemorate the life and legacy of civil and human rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in January with special events on the Evanston and Chicago campuses. All of the following events are free and open to the public.

On Monday, Jan. 16, the University will set aside three hours -- 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. -- for the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Classes on both campuses will be cancelled during those hours.

Evanston campus

The Evanston campus programs include an 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16 celebration at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, featuring keynote speaker Kweisi Mfume, former president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); a 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13 Candlelight Vigil at Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road, with a keynote speech by Northwestern alumna Roslyn McCallister Brock, vice chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors; and a 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16 Gertrude and G. D. Crain Jr. Lecture at the McCormick Tribune Center, 1870 Campus Drive, by Chicago writer and lawyer Christopher Benson, who will discuss the 1955 Mississippi kidnapping and brutal murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, an act that fueled the Civil Rights Movement.

The Crain Lecture will be followed by a reception and viewing of the Chicago Alliance of African-American Photographers exhibition “The Journey: The Next One Hundred Years” that was unveiled in November in the McCormick Tribune Center and is on display through Jan. 20. For more information, call (847) 491-5401.

A live broadcast of the 11 a.m. Pick-Staiger program featuring Mfume will be shown in the Owen L. Coon Forum in Leverone Hall, 2001 Sheridan Road, and in the Ryan Family Auditorium, Technological Institute, 2145 Sheridan Road. A Webcast will be shown at www.northwestern.edu/mlk.

Mfume, the Evanston campus keynote speaker, represented his Maryland district in Congress for 10 years prior to serving as president and CEO of the NAACP from 1996 to 2004. He remains an outspoken activist for minority rights and has declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. His background in broadcasting includes 13 years in radio and nine years of hosting the award-winning television show “The Bottom Line.” His best-selling autobiography is titled “No Free Ride.”

The Evanston campus celebration at Pick-Staiger will include musical performances by pianist Christopher Thompson, soprano Joelle Lamarre, oboist Erin Banholzer, the University Chorale featuring a narration by Northwestern School of Music voice professor, Sherrill Milnes, an internationally known operatic baritone, and the Northwestern Community Ensemble.

During the Jan. 13 Candlelight Vigil at Alice Millar Chapel, Northwestern alumna Rosalyn McCallister Brock, vice chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, will focus on the theme  “Finding Your Voice,” a phrase used by Dr. King. The program also will feature the Alice Millar Chapel Choir and the Northwestern Community Ensemble gospel choir. The service is presented by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and the Office of the University Chaplain.

The topic of Christopher Benson’s Crain Lecture is “Remembering Emmett Till: The Hate Crime that Started the Civil Rights Movement.” Benson co-authored the book “Death of Innocence, The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America” (Random House, Inc.) with Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. Benson is the former features editor for Ebony magazine, and a former Washington editor for Ebony and Jet magazines.

Chicago campus

On the Chicago campus, the 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16 “Live the Legacy” program at Thorne Auditorium, Arthur Rubloff Building, 375 E. Chicago Ave., will feature a tribute to the late Rosa Parks and the women of the Civil Rights Movement. The keynote speakers are Chicago-born film, television and stage actor and Northwestern alumnus Harry Lennix, who is currently starring in ABC-TV’s political drama “Commander in Chief,” and Deborah Mathis, assistant professor, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, Washington Program; and managing editor of the Medill News Service Washington Bureau.

The title of their talk is “The Media Today: Helping or Hurting the Movement?” Mathis and Lennix will reflect on their involvement in the media from different perspectives -- Lennix from an artistic viewpoint and Mathis from a political perspective -- in advancing or hindering the civil rights agenda. A reception will follow. The Chicago campus program will be presented by the DREAM committee of the Northwestern University School of Law and the Feinberg School of Medicine.

Other Evanston campus events

Northwestern has planned other events on the Evanston campus in memory of Dr. King.

A 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16 Faculty Teach-In, “The King Legacy in a Contemporary Global Context,” in Swift Hall, 2029 Sheridan Road, Room 107, will feature a panel of Northwestern faculty members who will discuss Dr. King’s domestic and global legacies and the Civil Rights Movement. This year’s discussion will focus on a global perspective of the progress made by groups marginalized on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender or sexuality.

African American Student Affairs will present a 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17 Evening Dialogue with Northwestern’s Jennifer A. Richeson, associate professor, department of psychology, and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research. The title of Richeson’s talk is “Modern Day Racial Prejudice: Subtle yet Destructive.” This event will be held in the Conference Room of African American Student Affairs, 1914 Sheridan Road.

At 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, Lewis V. Baldwin, professor of religious studies at Vanderbilt University, will lecture on “The Meaning of Martin Luther King Jr. for the 21st Century” at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, 2121 Sheridan Road. The event is presented by the Center for the Church and the Black Experience.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, civil rights activist Alveda King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece, will speak about her lifelong commitment to the Civil Rights movement, which began when her Birmingham home was bombed by segregationists. She also will discuss her current work with Priests for Life and the impact of abortion in poor and minority communities. Her talk will be held in McCormick Auditorium, Norris University Center. The event is sponsored by Northwestern Students for Life and College Republicans.

At 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 19 a Worship Celebration featuring guest speaker Robert Burns, retired Protestant Chaplain of Chicago’s West Side VA Hospital (currently known as the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center), will be held at the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Chapel.

For more information visit www.northwestern.edu/mlk/program.html.