John Matlock, PhD

Associate Vice Provost 

Office of the Provost and Executive Vice-President


Director, Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives

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The University of Michigan

3009 SAB Building/OAMI

Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1316

734.936.1055 Fax: 734.764.3595


                        For scheduling, contract: Carol Williams

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MLK programs to include films, music, conversation

Lectures by civil rights leaders, Native American drumming, children's activities and a hip-hop summit are just a few of the activities planned as part of the 23rd annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium, which opens on campus this week.

Students, staff, faculty and community members take part in the Circle of Unity during last year's MLK Symposium. The third annual event will take place at 2 p.m. Jan. 19 in the Diag. The event will feature songs of freedom and spoken word performances, along with free wristbands for the first 250 participants. (Photo courtesy Michigan Community Scholars Program)

Activist and long-time Georgia legislator Julian Bond's keynote address occurs the day before Barack Obama's presidential inauguration — an historic event that MLK organizers say will energize and define many activities in this year's symposium. Talks by activist Julie Chavez Rodriguez and author Pearl Cleage also are anticipated highlights of the symposium, one of the leading observances in the nation devoted to honoring King.

The symposium theme is "A Dreamer, But Not the Only One." It was selected by the 40-member MLK Symposium Planning Committee, which assists event organizer the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives (OAMI). The theme highlights the importance of acting for positive change, which King and his followers did, as they fought for civil rights and social justice.

The MLK Symposium opens Jan. 15 at locations around campus. OAMI-sponsored events are scheduled through Jan. 30, while University-sponsored events continue through April.

The Jan. 19 events are:

• The keynote King Memorial Lecture by Bond, at 10 a.m. in Hill Auditorium. Bond has served since 1998 as chairman of the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the United States. In 2002 he received the prestigious National Freedom Award. The veteran of more than 20 years service in the Georgia General Assembly, a university professor and writer, Bond also has narrated the Academy Award-winning "A Time For Justice" and the prize-winning and critically acclaimed series "Eyes On The Prize."

• MLK Children and Youth Program — A Day Filled with Creativity, Dialogue and Entertainment for students in grades K-12, from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Modern Language Building, 812 E. Washington. Art, storytelling, musical performances and group dialogue sessions are scheduled with historians and musical artists Robert Jones, Frances Wang, 
58 Greene, Will Copeland, the Lincoln High School Steppers and others.

• Business and Finance MLK Convocation Speaker Les Brown appears at 12:30 p.m. in Rackham Auditorium. The motivational speaker and TV personality was selected as one of America's Top Five Speakers by Toastmasters International and has been recognized by Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller for his work in helping people to realize their potential for achievement. Brown also has served as a three-term legislator.

• Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch addresses Myth and Miracles from the King Years at 1:30 p.m. in theStephen M. Ross School of Business Blau Auditorium.

• Larry Wilmore from "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" presents Don't Take Diversity Seriously: Just Kidding! at 2 p.m. in the Michigan Union Ballroom. The comedian and writer who is developing his own sitcom for HBO has written for "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and "The Jamie Foxx Show," created "The Bernie Mac Show" and was a consulting producer on "The Office."

• Dare to Dream: A Performance by Simon Estes, features the celebrated baritone, professor and artist-in-residence at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. He performs at 2 p.m. in the Mendelssohn Theatre in the Michigan League. Estes is known for his humanitarian efforts to link talented students to scholarships to attend the Julliard School of Music and other institutions.

• Third annual Circle of Unity, 2-3 p.m., in the Diag, joins students, staff, faculty and community members in songs of freedom and spoken word performances.

• Drumming and Beading for Dreamers of the Dream: Love Your Indian Day at 4 p.m. in the Educational Conference Center, School of Social Work, features an introduction to Native American and Ojibwe culture through a series of traditional drum songs and an interactive demonstration of Navajo beading.

Other MLK Symposium highlights include:

• Opening Lecture with Julie Chavez Rodriguez, human rights activist and granddaughter of civil and labor rights activist Cesar Chavez, at 4 p.m. Jan. 15 in the Michigan League Vandenberg Room. Chavez Rodriguez is programs director for the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation and heads the National Youth Leadership Initiative, which addresses academic and civic engagement among youth.

• Closing lecture with writer Pearl Cleage at 1 p.m. Jan. 30 in the Michigan Union Pendleton Room. Cleage draws on her experiences as an activist for AIDS and women's rights, and she cites the rhythms of black life as her muse. Her first novel, "What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day," was an Oprah Book Club selection in 1998 and appeared on the New York Times best-seller list for nine weeks.

• MLK Symposium Student Concert featuring Janelle Monae at 8 p.m. Jan. 16 in the Michigan Theater. Tickets are $12 and available through the Michigan Union Ticket Office and through Fighting Obstacles Knowing Ultimate Success representatives.

• Imagine Futures — Does the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex Community in Africa have reason to celebrate? 7 p.m. Jan. 21 with Sokari Ekine, Educational Conference Center, School of Social Work, examines rampant homophobia in several African nations and activist efforts to address the problem.

• Charting a Course for the Next Generation with author Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, is at 4 p.m. Jan. 27 in the Michigan Union Ballroom. Edelman will address the hardships faced by millions of children plagued by poverty, poor health, illiteracy, violence and more.

• Midwest Hip Hop Summit, Feb. 6-7 in the University Club, Michigan Union, seeks to advocate a broader vision of hip-hop culture than that portrayed in stereotypes on TV and radio. Appearing are hip-hop artists Little Brother, OneBeLo, Invincible and more. It also features several workshops.