Eastern Michigan University EMU HOME
About EMUFuture StudentsCurrent StudentsAcademics & ResearchFaculty & StaffAlumni & FriendsAthletics & RecreationNews & Events

Jan. 12, 2004
CONTACT: Kathleen Shields

EMU to celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., Jan. 14-19

YPSILANTI — “You Didn’t Hear Me Then, Will You Hear Me Now?” is the theme for Eastern Michigan University’s week-long celebration of the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. Activities honoring the civil rights leader are scheduled Jan. 14-19, and are sponsored by EMU’s department of communications and theatre arts.

“Many students, staff and faculty have worked hard to make this very important event possible,” said Jessica Alexander, co-chair of the MLK celebration committee. “And this is only the beginning for diversity programming. We plan various events year-round that enable us to catalyze dialogue on campus on certain ideas and issues.”

Suzan-Lori Parks, the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, will be the featured guest this year.

Parks will speak briefly at the President’s Luncheon at the Ypsilanti Marriott at 12 p.m.; deliver the keynote address during the keynote celebration at Pease Auditorium at 3 p.m.; and host a question-and-answer “Talkback” session following the 8 p.m. performance of her play, “In the Blood,” at Sponberg Theatre.

Parks was awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her play “Topdog/Underdog.” She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2001 and, in 2003, was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and the Pen-Laura Pels Award for Excellence in Playwriting.

The schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, Jan. 14
•Third Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Heritage Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Dining Commons ONE. Guests include spoken word artist Matthias. The luncheon is free for those with meal plans and $6.35 for others.

Thursday, Jan. 15
•Brown Bag Lunch, noon, Multicultural Center Lounge, King Hall. Discussion of Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads community book, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”

•Unity Forum on Affirmative Action, presented by the Black Student Organizational Alliance, 7 p.m., Ballroom, McKenny Union. Gives insight into Brown v. Board of Education and the Ward Connelly Referendum. Keynote speakers include Ron Woods, Whitney Harris, Andre Clanton and Louis Colton. Refreshments served.

Friday, Jan. 16
•Worship with Eastern, Jan. 16-18. EMU and several churches in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area will celebrate the life of Dr. King. For a listing of churches, call Keith Jason at 487-2377, or e-mail kjason@emich.edu.

•Third Annual Color of Drums: Progress Through Poetry, a celebration of spoken word, movement and song, 8 p.m., Pease Auditorium. Special guests include The Last Poets and representatives from Ozone House, which provides help for teens in crisis and their families. Coordinated by the Poetry Society.

Saturday, Jan. 17
•MLK Day of Service, 9:30 a.m.-noon. This event is a day of sharing, storytelling and servicing at the Parkridge Center, Boys and Girls Club and Bortz Assisted Living. For more information, call Toyin Olatunji at 487-3045.

•Hip Hop Explosion, 8 p.m., Pease Auditorium. This includes the Fifth Annual Student Talent Competition and a special performance by Diversion Dance Troupe.

•Lock-In, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., second and third floors, Rec/IM. The lock-in celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. Highlights include: DJ Mocuts, Diversion Dance Troupe, a slam dunk and 3-point contest, and a staff versus student basketball game.

Sunday, Jan. 18
•Savion Glover. The tap dancing sensation performs at 7 p.m., Pease Auditorium. Tickets are $8 for students and $16 general admission. Call 487-1221.

Monday, Jan. 19
•Opening Kick-Off, “Step, Song and Speech Breakfast,” 9-10 a.m., Ballroom, McKenny Union. The Black Greek Council “Unity Step Performance,” and the Diversion Dance Troupe. Students, faculty and staff will read excerpts from King’s essays and speeches.
Full Sessions, 10:15-11:45 a.m., various locations, McKenny Union:

•“In Retrospect: The 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Eduction,” Tower Room. Panel discussion of the impact of the 1954 decision—then and now.

•“White Privilege, Then and Now,” Alumni Room. Panel members’ stories and stances.

•“The Works of Suzan-Lori Parks: Playwright, Author and Visionary,” Reception Room. Professor Wallace Bridges explores the work of this year’s MLK keynote speaker, Suzan-Lori Parks. Bridges also will discuss his production of “In the Blood,” opening Jan. 19 and followed by a “Talkback” session with Parks.

•“Gay You Say! Black and White Folks Together: The Experience of Gay African American Males on Majority Caucasian Campuses,” Faculty Room.

•“Game of Life,” Ballroom. This interactive session explores issues encountered as people live their lives in the USA.

•For Young People (grades K-5), Guild Hall. Meet Brother Rabbit; hear the works of Ruby from Little Rock; and meet a pocketmouse. EMU student storytellers perform a repertoire of work.

•President’s Luncheon, noon-1:30 p.m., Lakeshore Ballroom, Ypsilanti Marriott. Keynote speaker Suzan-Lori Parks, with introduction and remarks by EMU President Samuel A. Kirkpatrick. Seating begins at 11:30 a.m. For tickets, call 487-2282.

•Keynote Celebration, 3-4 p.m., Pease Auditorium. Speaker Suzan-Lori Parks. Also award presentations and performances by the EMU Gospel Choir and EMU Jazz Ensemble.

•CloseUP Theatre Troupe presents “Here me Now,” 4:15 p.m., Pease Auditorium.

•Candlelight Walk from Pease Auditorium to the Multicultural Center, King Hall,
4:45-5:15 p.m.

•AFTERGLOW, 5:30 p.m., Multicultural Center, King Hall. Post-march reception provides an opportunity to mix, mingle and reflect on the week’s events and the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

•“In the Blood,” by Suzan-Lori Parks and directed by Wallace Bridges, 8 p.m., Quirk Theatre. Parks will lead a talk-back discussion following the performance. For tickets, call 487-1221.

For more information, call “Decky” Alexander, 487-3179, or e-mail her at Jessica.Alexander@emich.edu.
Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive, metropolitan university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

EMU Home | University Communications Home