January 6, 2005
Vol. 24 No. 7

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    University to honor King: Full week of activities planned

    By Jennifer Carnig
    News Office


    Kweisi Mfume is the keynote speaker for the University’s week of events scheduled to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The weeklong celebration begins Monday, Jan. 10, and culminates on the King holiday Monday, Jan. 17, with Mfume’s speech.

    This year’s campus-wide celebration of the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. is shaping up to be the largest in University history. The University will commemorate King with an entire week of activities that a group of more than 50 faculty, staff and students are organizing.

    Anchoring the weeklong celebration is the impressive keynote speaker Kweisi Mfume, former president of the NAACP.

    “The collaboration among the various departments, divisions, administrators, faculty and students makes this an unprecedented undertaking for the University,” said Linda Choi, the lead coordinator of the week and Special Assistant to the Vice President and Dean of Students in the University for Diversity Affairs.

    Choi said the goals of the activities, and the reasons for lengthening the commemoration, are to encourage the community—both on campus and throughout the Chicago area—to reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change; to better understand the impact of the civil rights movement on society as a whole and on similar movements on behalf of women, Latinos, Asians and Native Americans; and to think about civil rights-related issues today, including voting rights, hate crimes, affirmative action and racial profiling.

    The celebration will begin Monday, Jan. 10, and end Monday, Jan. 17, when Mfume will deliver the keynote speech at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.

    Mfume, 56, took over the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1996, and is credited with raising standards and expectations of the civil rights organization and providing it with a clear blueprint for its future. A Baltimore native, Mfume graduated magna cum laude from Morgan State University and earned an M.A. in international studies from Johns Hopkins University.

    Mfume entered public service in 1979, winning a seat on the Baltimore city council by three votes. He held that seat for seven years, leading efforts to diversify city government, improve community safety and enhance minority business development. With that success, Mfume went on to easily win a seat in Congress in 1986. As a congressman, Mfume advocated landmark minority business and civil rights legislation, and he sponsored legislative initiatives banning assault weapons. Mfume served as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and later as the Caucus’ chair of the Task Force on Affirmative Action.

    He left Congress in 1996 when he was appointed president of the NAACP, where he helped usher in a new generation for civil rights advocacy. His resignation from the civil rights organization became effective Saturday, Jan. 1, and to ensure a smooth transition, Mfume will serve as a consultant to the NAACP until Friday, July 1.

    In addition to his career in politics and at the NAACP, Mfume worked for 13 years in broadcasting, and for nine years he hosted the television show The Bottom Line. His best-selling autobiography is entitled No Free Ride.

    Mfume will speak on the theme of this year’s King celebration, “Living the Legacy.” While Mfume’s speech is the keynote address of the week, this year’s commemoration includes events that examine and celebrate Dr. King’s message in different formats and perspectives. The following is a list of the week’s programs. All events are free and open to the public except the student/alumni mixer on Thursday, Jan. 13.

    • Monday, Jan. 10 — 7 to 9 p.m. in the Biological Sciences Learning Center, 924 E. 57th St.
      A Different Perspective: Challenging the Myths of the Civil Rights Movement

      The evening will begin with a screening of the critically acclaimed documentary film Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin. The film chronicles the life of this influential activist, especially his role in organizing the 1963 March on Washington and his experience being marginalized within the movement for being openly gay. The film will be followed by a discussion led by Jacqueline Stewart, Associate Professor in English Language & Literature.

    • Tuesday, Jan. 11 — noon to 1 p.m. in the Amandla Student Resource Center, Harper Memorial Library, east mezzanine level, 1116 E. 59th St.
      Rockefeller Memorial Chapel Presents: What Matters to Me and Why

      Alumnus Roderick Pugh will discuss what it was like to be in Hyde Park during the civil rights era. A long-time resident of Hyde Park, Pugh earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from Chicago in 1949.

    • Wednesday, Jan. 12 — 6 to 8 p.m. in the International House, 1414 E. 59th St.
      Realizing the Dream: Perspectives on Equality and Civil Rights

      Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Assistant Professor in Political Science and the College, will moderate a panel discussion on how King’s message of equality influences other groups struggling for equality, such as women, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, and gays and lesbians.

    • Thursday, Jan. 13 — 6 to 8 p.m. at the Alumni House, 5555 S. Woodlawn Ave.
      Multicultural Student and Alumni Mixer

      Danielle Allen, Dean of the Division of the Humanities and Professor in Classical Languages & Literatures, will offer a reading from her new book, Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education. She also will be on hand for a book signing.

    • Friday, Jan. 14 — 7 to 9:30 p.m. in Uncle Joe’s Coffee Shop, second floor of the Reynolds Club, 5706 S. University Ave.
      Roots and Rhymes

      This evening of poetry brings together artists from the greater Chicago community, including Anida Esguerra, Cin Salach and Avery Young, and members of the University community for a night of artistic expression that addresses the cross-cultural significance of King’s legacy. Open mic will follow the featured guests, and all in attendance will be encouraged to perform.

    • Saturday, Jan. 15 — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
      Day of Service

      The University Community Service Center sponsors a day of service titled “Faith and the Community.” There are various locations and activities. For more information or to get involved, please e-mail ucsc@uchicago.edu.

    • Sunday, Jan. 16 — 3 to 5 p.m. in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave.
      Gospel Fest

      Join in the jubilation as community and campus choirs uplift and educate. Learn about the roots of gospel music, its place in African-American history and its role in civil rights politics.

    • Monday, Jan. 17 — noon to 1 p.m. in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave.
      Martin Luther King Jr. Day Service and Reception

      Join Mfume as he speaks about King’s legacy, and then attend a reception with him from 1 to 3 p.m. in Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St.

    More information can be found at http://mlk.uchicago.edu. Individuals with disabilities or special needs should contact the Office of Minority Student Affairs at (773) 834-4672 to request necessary accommodations such as early access, special seating or special parking access.