mlk638Submitted by: Marla Thompson

Warren M. Washington will speak at Alice M Millar Chapel on Jan. 20. Civil rights activist and author Myrlie Evers-Williams will be the keynote speaker during a 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27 campus observance at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.

EVANSTON, Ill. — Myrlie Evers-Williams — a civil rights activist in 1963 when her activist husband Medgar Evers was infamously assassinated in Mississippi — will deliver the keynote speech Jan. 27 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in Northwestern’s University’s weeklong Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Warren M. Washington will speak a week earlier, on Jan. 20 (MLK Day) at a candlelight vigil at Alice Millar Chapel.

Washington — the second African-American to receive a doctorate in atmospheric science — shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with other scientists and Vice President Al Gore — for a landmark climate change assessment that provided vital information about man-made climate change.

Evers-Williams worked for more than three decades seeking justice for her slain husband, served as chair of the NAACP, wrote books on social justice and delivered the invocation address at President Obama’s second inauguration. She is the founder of the Medgar & Myrlie Evers Institute, an organization that promotes education, training and economic development.

The University has suspended all classes on Monday, Jan. 20, for a University-wide, full-day observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.


Northwestern’s weeklong celebration in Evanston will include a panel discussion, a film screening of a documentary on King’s rise from regional activist to world-renowned civil rights leader; and a Swahili-style get-together with free food, student performances and more. The Jan. 27 campus observance featuring Evers-Williams also will include choral and jazz performances by Northwestern student groups.

The following Martin Luther King Jr. celebration events are free and open to the public:

Staged reading of “Mogadishu,” 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive. British playwright Vivienne Franzmann’s play dramatizes the experience of a white woman who teaches in a tough London secondary school. The play can be seen as a kind of stress test of multicultural education, with deeply problematic and tragic outcomes.

Campus Observance: Alpha Phi Alpha Candlelight Vigil featuring Warren M. Washington, 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road. Washington, an internationally recognized atmospheric scientist and climate researcher, was the second African-American to earn a doctorate in atmospheric sciences. He is a role model, mentor and inspiration for generations of young researchers from diverse backgrounds. Washington is a senior scientist and chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Cooperative Agreement at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the Climate Change Research Section. He has published close to 200 papers in professional journals, garnered dozens of national and international awards and served as a science advisor to former presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. For more on Washington, visit

Civil Rights and Social Justice, “Calling All Voices,” 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, McCormick Tribune Forum, 1870 Campus Drive. This panel discussion will be led by five Fellows from Northwestern’s Public Voices Fellowship. Panelists will share their thoughts on how a diversity of voices engaged in public discourse leads to greater social justice. The program will be co-moderated by Lawrence Stuelpnagel, assistant professor, and Michele Weldon, professor emerita-in-service, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communication and director of the fellowship. A reception will follow. For more information, visit flyer.pdf.

Screening of “King: A Filmed Record,” 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive. A masterfully assembled film consisting mostly of archival footage without narration, “King” documents Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights activism from 1955 to 1968. Originally screened as a one-night-only event in 1970, the film has been restored by the Library of Congress so that future generations can better understand this remarkable and turbulent time in our nation’s recent past. From speeches to arrests, from the Montgomery bus protests to the shockwaves caused by his assassination, “King” is a powerful reminder of how far the civil rights movement has come, and a precious record of one of the greatest leaders in American history. Complimentary refreshments will be offered during intermission.

“Harambee,” 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, Norris University Center, Louis Room, 1999 Campus Drive. Swahili for “pull together,” Harambee is the annual kick-off event for Black History month. Co-sponsored by African American Student Affairs and For Members Only: Northwestern’s Black Student Alliance, the event includes free food, student performances and the presentation of this year’s Gardner/Exum Scholarship winners.

Campus Observance: Keynote speaker Myrlie Evers-Williams, 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, observance at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive. Following the history-making 1963 murder of her husband, Medgar Evers, Evers-Williams emerged as a pivotal figure in the civil rights movement. For more than three decades, she has fought to carry on her late husband’s legacy, never relenting in her determination to change the face of race relations. She has become a symbol of courage and perseverance, steadfast in her march towards social justice by exposing generations of students to the cause for which her husband died. In addition to Evers-Williams’ keynote address, the campus observance will include choral and jazz performances by Northwestern students. Since there will be no keynote program on the Chicago campus this year, everyone is invited to attend the Evanston campus keynote event. Tickets are not required. Seating will be on a first-come, first-seated basis. Doors will open 45 minutes prior to the start of the event.


The Chicago campus will be the site of a series of three (Jan. 21 to 23) law- and medicine-related panel discussions that will examine topics including minority communities the connection between women’s equality and reproductive rights, and civil rights. A related 5:30 p.m. reception on Jan. 24 will conclude the series.

“A Night Devoid of Stars: The Devastating Effect of Violence in Minority Communities” panel discussion, noon to 1:20 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, Arthur Rubloff Building, Room 150, 375 E. Chicago Ave. The program is co-sponsored by the Black Law Students Association. Lunch will be provided.

“A Right Denied? The Connection between Equality, Women’s Rights and Reproductive Health” panel discussion, noon to 1:20 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, Robert McCormick Hall, Room 195 (Strawn Hall), 350 E. Superior St. The event is co-sponsored by Northwestern’s Black Law Students Association, the Law Students for Reproductive Justice and the Women’s Leadership Coalition. Lunch will be provided.

“The Wheels of Inevitability? An Examination of the Current Supreme Court’s Civil Rights Precedent” panel discussion, 4 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, Arthur Rubloff Building, Room 150, 375 E. Chicago Ave. The discussion is co-sponsored by the Black Law Students Association and the American Constitution Society.

DREAM Week Reception, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, Northwestern Law School Atrium, 375 E. Chicago Ave. Co-sponsored by the Black Law Students Association. Advance responses are requested but not required at


Also planned is a Day of Service from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, in Evanston, and from 9:30 a.m. to Noon, Saturday, in Chicago. Northwestern students will engage in a variety of service projects throughout Evanston and Chicago. During lunch they will have an opportunity to reflect on their experiences.

For more information on these and other Northwestern events commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. visit in Evanston or in Chicago.

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