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KU to host annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas will honor and celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 20, in Strong Hall. The theme of this year’s celebration is Inspired Dreams.

“We welcome the university and Lawrence community to campus to take time to reflect upon the legacy of Dr. King, to celebrate the changes due to his vision and to dedicate ourselves anew to strive toward his goals,” said Tammara Durham, vice provost for student affairs.

The celebration will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Strong Hall rotunda with a reading by Kenton Rambsy and music by a capella group Genuine Imitation. Rambsy is a doctoral candidate in literature and serves as project digital initiative coordinator for The Project on the History of Black Writing at KU.

A candlelight vigil will proceed on foot from Strong Hall to the Kansas Union. Events at the Kansas Union will take place in the Union ballroom and feature music from the Blue Jazz Trio.

The program for Inspired Dreams will begin at 5:15 p.m. The program includes a welcome by Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter and a keynote address by Clarence Lang, associate professor of African and African-American studies at KU.

The program will be hosted by Marcus Tetwiler, student body president. In addition, the top three MLK essays by students from Liberty Memorial Central Middle School students will be read.

Keynote speaker Lang joined KU after serving as the 2011 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor. Lang's main research and teaching areas are African-American working-class and labor history, the Black Freedom Movement and black urban communities in the 20th-century Midwest. Lang is the author of “Grassroots at the Gateway: Class Politics and Black Freedom Struggle in St. Louis, 1936-75," and co-editor with Robbie Lieberman of “Anticommunism and the African American Freedom Movement: ‘Another Side of the Story.'" He has published articles and reviews in a number of academic and popular venues. He received his doctorate in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2004.