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Northwestern Honors Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

University schedules public lectures, discussions, films, music and theater events

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January 6, 2010 | by Judy Moore
Chicago jazz legend Ramsey Lewis.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University's 2010 Martin Luther King Jr. mid-January observance will feature a performance by Chicago jazz legend Ramsey Lewis and his trio, lectures by prominent keynote speakers, a weeklong series of informative panel discussions, and film, music and theater events. All are free and open to the public.

Northwestern faculty, staff and students will also have the opportunity to volunteer for service projects in Evanston and Chicago neighborhoods that will take place on the University's MLK Day of Service Jan. 16.

In commemoration of the late civil rights leader's life and legacy, Northwestern will suspend classes Monday, Jan. 18, on both campuses for a University-wide, full-day observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. (All other University operations will function that day.)

At noon, Monday, Jan. 18, jazz legend Ramsey Lewis will take part in an on-stage Q&A prior to performing new and old songs at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston. Locally, the Grammy Award-winning composer and pianist also is remembered as WNUA-FM Chicago's weekday morning drive-time radio host from 1997 to 2009. He continues to host the syndicated "Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis" radio program that airs in more than 75 cities across the nation.

The Jan. 18 program will include remarks by University administrators and campus leaders. It also will feature performances by the Alice Millar Chapel Choir, Northwestern Community Ensemble and Northwestern University clarinetist and saxophonist Victor Goines, Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music professor and director of jazz studies. The event is free and seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. No tickets are required. Pick-Staiger doors will open at 11:15 a.m.

The 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18, annual Alpha Phi Alpha Candlelight Vigil at Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road, Evanston campus, will include a keynote speaker and musical performances by several Northwestern University a capella student groups. A reception in Parkes Hall will follow the program.

At noon, Monday, Jan. 18, Harriet Washington, award-winning author of "Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present," will be the keynote speaker on the Chicago campus. Washington will discuss the legacy of experimentation and injustice in medicine at Thorne Auditorium in the Arthur Rubloff Building, 375 E. Chicago Ave. A panel including U.S. Senator Richard Durbin also will be present to discuss health care issues, and Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn will honor the youth winners of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Art Contest. An 11 a.m. public reception in the Rubloff lobby will precede the program. Tickets are not required; seating is first-come, first-served. A public reception and book signing will follow the program.

Northwestern students, faculty and staff interested in volunteering in an Evanston or Chicago neighborhood for a MLK Day of Service project or event, Saturday, Jan. 16, should register by noon, Friday, Jan. 15, online at www.norris.northwestern.edu/community.php. For more information, contact Natalie Furlett, coordinator for Student Community Service in the Center for Student Involvement, by phone or e-mail at (847) 481-2350 or community@northwestern.edu.

Evanston campus

Tony Award-nominated playwright Joanna McClelland Glass' play "Palmer Park" will be performed at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17, at the Theatre and Interpretation Center's (TIC) Mussetter-Struble Theater, 1949 Campus Drive, Evanston, and 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18, at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston. In 1967, the worst of the race riots occurred in Detroit, resulting in the flight of more than 100,000 white city residents. But not every white resident left. "Palmer Park" tells the story of one Detroit neighborhood's struggle to uphold the ideal of integration. Directed by Rives Collins, Northwestern's theatre department chair, this staged reading is part of the Big Ten university theatre initiative. Both performances will be followed by post-show discussions with the creative team. General admission is free and open to the public; seating is limited and reservations are required. For reservations, contact the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282.

Staff and faculty members are invited to attend the NUSAC (Northwestern University Staff Advisory Council) Coffee Break, 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 18, at the Dittmar Memorial Gallery, first floor, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive. Light refreshments and beverages will be served during a reception in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday prior to the noon Evanston campus observance at Pick-Staiger.

Chicago campus

Northwestern's School of Law and Feinberg School of Medicine are co-sponsoring the DREAM 2010: Martin Luther King Jr. Day Lecture Series, five consecutive lunchtime talks from noon to 1:15 p.m. from Jan. 11 to 15, on the Chicago campus.

  • Monday, Jan. 11: "Historical Roots & Contemporary Challenges: What Are the Rights of Illegal Immigrants?" moderated by Anthony Ponce of NBC Channel Five. The event will take place in Room 150 of the Arthur Rubloff Building, 375 E. Chicago Ave.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 12: "Environmental Racism: Poverty and Pollution in Minority Communities," moderated by Kimbriell Kelly, senior editor, The Chicago Reporter, Room 180 of the Rubloff Building.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 13: "Fighting for Liberty in the Face of Denial: ‘Ask Not'" film screening and lecture, moderated by Andrew Koppelman, Northwestern professor of law; Hughes Auditorium of the Robert H. Lurie building, 303 E. Superior St.
  • Thursday, Jan. 14: "America's Forgotten People, Current Issues Affecting Native Americans," Room 150 of the Rubloff Building.
  • Friday, Jan. 15: DREAM Award Recipient Lecture in Baldwin Auditorium, Lurie Building, 303 E. Superior St. A lecture by DREAM Award recipient Carmen Velasquez, executive director and founder of the Alivio Medical Center in Chicago, a bilingual, bicultural, nonprofit community health center.

For more information on these and other Evanston and Chicago campus MLK Day events visit www.northwestern.edu/mlk/.