Schedule of Celebration Events

Schedule of Events

"One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change . . . but today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant, and to face the challenge of change."

--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - Celebration Kickoff

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative March

Martin Luther King Garden with MLK Statue (Located between Boone and Welch Hall), 3:30 p.m.

Marchers will gather on the east end of Welch Hall. Hot chocolate will be provided.

Join members of the university and surrounding community as we reflect upon the historical significance of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March by thousands of non-violent demonstrators, and march across campus from the MLK Garden to the Student Center.

Individuals can join the march at any point along the route, similar to what occurred in the 1965 march.

Opening Celebration Reception and Student Art Showcase

310A Student Center
4:15–6 p.m.

EMU President James Smith will deliver opening remarks to kick off the 32nd annual MLK Celebration.

The Black Faculty and Staff Association will announce the 2017–18 Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. student scholarship awardees.

This celebration will include selected art pieces created by EMU students that will be featured in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The artwork will be judged and three students will be selected to each receive a scholarship of $500 in recognition of their work.

Refreshments will be served.

Friday, January 12, 2018

MLK Day of Service

EMU Honors College Auditorium (511 W Forest Ave, Ypsilanti)
9 a.m.–1 p.m.

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?"- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

If you've found that you've asked yourself this same question and aren't sure where to begin, look no further! The VISION Volunteer Center will be hosting a morning of volunteering as part of EMU's MLK Celebration. All we require is that you sign up (link below) and show-up the day of, ready to make a difference! This is a single link for students, faculty or staff to register.


NOTE: This is a single link for students, faculty, or staff to register.

Expect the unexpected as you'll be assigned a service site at random as you arrive. You'll then go with a group to do service for a couple of hours and reflect on the experience. Transportation to and from your service site is provided. Please dress prepared for the weather because some of our community partners work outdoors.

If you are under 18 years of age, you must stop by the VISION office to retrieve a liability waiver for your parent/guardian to sign prior to January 12th in order to participate.

It is important that you arrive at 9 a.m. If you arrive after 9 a.m., we cannot guarantee transportation to a service site.

*This event is for enrolled EMU Students and EMU faculty and staff only.

LBC Credit is approved for this event.

The Color of Drums Poetry Celebration

Pease Auditorium Doors Open: 6:30 p.m.
Show Time: 7 p.m. (Free Admission)

The Color of Drums (TCOD) is an annual show hosted by The EMU Poetry Society where acting and poetry collide on stage. This is TCOD's 17th annual MLK Celebration show  The show entails multiple skits performed by the organization as it relates to common topics throughout today's society revolving around the theme "By Any Means Necessary".

In TCOD, the Poetry Society at Eastern Michigan University challenges stereotypes, breaks down barriers, and expresses untold stories through a series of scenes, intertwining various messages with poems.

(*Disclaimer: Some content in this show may not be suitable for young children*)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Movie: "Selma"

Student Center Auditorium
Viewing: 3:30 p.m. (Free admission)
Discussion: 5:45 p.m. (Light refreshments)

Join us following the movie as we discuss the issues surrounding the events that led up to the Selma march and how it compares and contrasts with events that are happening today around the country.

"Selma" is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay's SELMA tells the real story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history. (C) Paramount

Rated PG 13

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Campus/Community Conversation

Room 310 A/B, Student Center 2:30–3 p.m. Check-in and Community Organizations Information Display
3–4:30 p.m. Keynote Presentation and Group Discussion

"Building Communities: One Step at a Time..."

Special Guest Presenter: Dr. Doris Fields

Director of Undergraduate Studies and Professor of Communications

Eastern Michigan University

This presentation will examine how EMU can build bridges with the larger community. Following the presentation, participants will engage in small group discussions around selected topics, using communication strategies, to address issues around diversity and strategies to improve race relations both at the university and within the surrounding community.

Facilitated by the MLK Community Engagement Committee

Monday, January 15, 2018 – MLK DAY

Morning Coffee

Student Center, Room 300, 7:30–8:45 a.m.

Start your day of exciting events and programming by joining members of the MLK Committee for a continental breakfast. This event is free and open to the public.

Academic Programs

Student Center, 3rd Floor (Various Rooms)

Session Block #1: 9–9:50 a.m.

  • The Poor People's Campaign - Renewing the SCLC's Struggle and Why We Need It in Southeast Michigan
  • What They Didn't Want Martin to Talk About: War and Militarism
  • Demands and Demonstrations: The Creation of the Black Student Union on Campus AND Truth Be Told: MLK, Jr. took a knee in 1964; Eartha Kitt coined the term "Black Lives Matter" in 1968.
  • Roommate Search: People of Color ONLY!
  • EMU Commission on Diversity and Inclusion: Preliminary Report Findings

Session Block #2:10–10:50 a.m.

  • Cracking the Code: Authentic Conversations about Equity and Inclusion
  • The Afrocentric Idea: Woke Tool for Black Millennials AND "We gone be alright": Communicating Activism Through Contemporary Freedom Songs
  • Revisiting the Three Evils of Society
  • The Successful Transition of a Black Man to College
  • McNair Scholars: New Research for a New Era

For details on the programs, including speakers and brief descriptions, go to the MLK home page and click on the "Academic Programs" link or go to

MLK President's Luncheon

Student Center Ballroom, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

Featuring Keynote Speaker: Joy-Ann Reid

Presentation of MLK awards and student scholarships:

  • MLK Student Scholarship
  • MLK Humanitarian Award
  • Evans-Strand Peace Award

Luncheon tickets are required. For details on how to purchase tickets, go to the MLK homepage and click on the President's Luncheon link or go to

MLK Keynote Address

Featuring: Joy-Ann Reid

Student Center Auditorium
1:30–3 p.m., Free admission

Joy-Ann Reid is a political analyst for MSNBC and host of the "AM Joy" television show. She is the author of the book "Fracture: Barak Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide" (William Morrow).

CloseUp Theatre Troupe

Student Center Auditorium, Two Shows

Show #1, 3:30–4 p.m., Doors open
4–5:30 p.m., Show and audience dialogue

Show #2, 6–6:30 p.m., Doors open
6:30–8 p.m., Show and audience dialogue

Free admission

We have been taught and trained to believe that America is the land of opportunity and freedom. But it’s hard to agree as the values we cling to are becoming obsolete. We examine the injustices in our society as individuals but we don’t always speak up about them as a community. CloseUp will speak up and speak out about some of those injustices and create a space for audience members to think, feel, question and hopefully act. (*Disclaimer: Some content in this show may not be suitable for young children*)

CloseUp Theatre Troupe Encore Performance**
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Student Center Auditorium, 7–7:30 p.m., Doors Open, 7:30–9 p.m. Performance and Audience Dialogue

**For individuals who cannot attend one of the Monday shows, CloseUp will perform the MLK show again on this date.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Closing Celebration: EMU Men's Basketball Game vs Akron

Convocation Center, 7 p.m.

EMU Athletics will be honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at this game. A special presentation of the MLK Student Scholarship, MLK Humanitarian Award, and Evans-Strand Peace Award will take place at half-time of the game.

Tickets: $12 adults, $6 youth (12 and under), EMU students free (with EMU student ID)

Special: "Two for Tuesday" 2 tickets, 2 hot dogs, 2 beverages for $22

Call 734.487.ENOW for tickets or visit

For details on any of the MLK Celebration events listed here, go to the MLK homepage and click on the links located on the left side of the page for the events you are interested in.

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