Yale salute to MLK includes Peabody festival, evening with Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Yale will mark the Martin Luther King holiday with a series of events honoring King’s life and legacy beginning Jan. 19, including a conversation with Yale alumnus Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Martin Luther King celebrated his 30th birthday in 1959 at Yale. He is seen here with student host David George Ball ‘60, who had invited King to give an address in Woolsey Hall. Ball is the author of “A Marked Heart,” a memoir that recounts the impact King and his visit had on Ball’s life and work. (Photo courtesy of David George Ball)

Yale University will mark the Martin Luther King holiday with a series of events honoring King’s life and legacy beginning on Sunday, Jan. 19, and continuing through the week, including a special conversation with Yale alumnus Henry Louis Gates Jr. on Saturday, Jan. 25. Yale’s King celebrations are open to all on campus and throughout the New Haven community at no charge.

Peabody’s annual MLK program

The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, 170 Whitney Ave., will hold its “18th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy of Environmental and Social Justice” event on Sunday, Jan. 19 from noon to 4:30 p.m. and on Monday, Jan. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission to the museum is free on both days.

The two-day event will include musical and dance performances, storytelling, and educational activities for visitors of all ages. The storytelling sessions this year will be held in conjunction with the New Haven Museum and will take place on Sunday, Jan. 19, at 114 Whitney Ave. The Peabody also will host its annual “Zannette Lewis Environmental and Social Justice Community Open Mic and Poetry Slam,” an opportunity for participants to share their original poetry or rap, and to discuss issues of environmental and social justice, on Monday, Jan. 20. The full schedule of festival events, including registration information is available here

Evening with Gates

There will be a conversation with Henry Louis Gates Jr. at  6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25 in the auditorium of the Sterling Law Building, 127 Wall St. The evening will include a screening of “A More Perfect Union (1968–2013),” the final episode of the recent six-part PBS documentary series “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” that he wrote, presented, and produced.

At Yale, Gates was scholar of the house in history and a member of Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. He graduated summa cum laude from Yale College in 1973 and went on to earn his master’s and doctoral degrees in English at Clare College, University of Cambridge. He is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.

A celebrated writer, critic, teacher, and cultural historian, Gates is the author or editor of over two dozen books. He has received more than 50 honorary degrees, as well as a MacArthur Foundation Award, often referred to as a “genius grant.” A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Gates was a winner in 1998 of the National Humanities Medal and he was selected in 2002 by the National Endowment for the Humanities to deliver the Jefferson Lecture, known as “the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.”

And more …

Additional events on campus and in the community to honor King include:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 15: Shiloh Missionary Baptist, 100 Lawrence St., will hold its 44thAnnual “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Love March” beginning at 10:45 a.m. The church, pastored by the Reverend Kennedy D. Hampton Sr. ’09 M.Div., has held a celebration on King’s actual birthday every year since 1970.
  • Monday, Jan. 20: To honor King’s life and legacy, Dwight Hall at Yale will sponsor a Day of Service from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to participate and can direct any questions to Brittany Stanley (brittany.stanley@yale.edu) or Patricia Okonta (isc@dwighthall.org). For more information and to sign up, visit http://dwighthall.org/mlk/.
  • Monday, Jan. 20: The Wexler-Grant Community School, 55 Foote St., will host its annual Martin Luther King conference, “Drum Major for Justice,” from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
  • Monday, Jan. 20: The Yale Guild of Carilloneurs will mark the holiday with special selections rung on the Yale Memorial Carillon in Harkness Tower. Songs will include “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” written by James Weldon Johnson, the author, educator, songwriter, and early civil rights activists whose legacy is preserved at Yale in the Beinecke Library’s James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection.
  • Monday, Jan. 20: Master’s tea with retired police officer and Stacy Spell, who was named the New Haven Independent’s “Man of the Year” for his work transforming troubled neighborhoods. The event — to be held at 4:30 p.m. in Pierson College, 61 Park St. — is sponsored by Pierson College, the Yale Sustainable Food Project, and Yale Divinity School.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 21: Yale’s Afro-American Cultural Center, 211 Park St., will host “Remembrance, Reflection, Renewal: Honoring the Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.,” a reception and photography exhibit sponsored by the Black Student Alliance at Yale, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 22: “Race Relations in the Obama Era,” a discussion with Gerald Jaynes, professor of economics and African American studies, sponsored by the Yale Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, in the Hall of Graduate Studies, Rm. 211, 320 York St., from noon to 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, Jan. 26: The Black Church at Yale will hold a Martin Luther King Jr. Worship Service at 10:30 a.m. at the Afro-American Cultural Center, 211 Park St.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 28: “Commingling: A Performing Arts Celebration,” in Sudler Hall, Rm. 201 of William L. Harkness Hall, 100 Wall St., from 7 p.m. To 10 p.m., with performances by Shades of Yale, Teeth, WORD, Nya Holder of the Heritage Theater Ensemble, and more.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 29: Following a screening of “Black Power Mixtape,” Jeffrey Ogbar, chief diversity officer for the University of Connecticut and professor of history, will host a talkback session with Nicholas Forster, Yale doctoral student in the African American and film studies programs, in Loria Hall, 190 York St., Rm. 250, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Yale’s celebration of King’s legacy has a long tradition. King spoke to a full house in Woolsey Hall on Jan. 14, 1959, about the future of integration and the civil rights movement, and celebrated his 30th birthday, Jan. 15, that year on campus. In 1964, Yale presented King with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. The citation read: “As your eloquence has kindled the nation’s sense of outrage, so your steadfast refusal to countenance violence in resistance to injustice has heightened our sense of national shame. When outrage and shame together shall one day have vindicated the promise of legal, social, and economic opportunity for all citizens, the gratitude of peoples everywhere and of generations of Americans yet unborn will echo our admiration.”

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