University events will commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.

Jan. 15, 2021 1:59 p.m.

On Monday, Jan. 18, the University will join community organizations to support the Arts Council of Princeton’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day community event. The University will also commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy through several virtual events. 

Stop at the University Chapel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in the early 1960s.

The African American history tour includes a virtual stop at the University Chapel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in the early 1960s.

Families can stop by the Arts Council of Princeton to pick up a free, limited edition coloring book that celebrates the impact and influence of Black Princetonians. The 16-page book, which was created in collaboration with the Historical Society of Princeton and neighborhood historian Shirley Satterfield, features prominent Black residents of Princeton from history including accomplished business owners, politicians, educators and influential women, in addition to Martin Luther King Jr.’s visits to campus in the 1960s. Coloring books will be available for free digital download on Monday or for pickup between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. while supplies last. There is a two book per household limit.  

jaZams will host a free, 45-minute virtual story hour, beginning at 11 a.m. Books featured will include “Charlie Parker Played Be Bop” by Chris Raschka, “I am Every Good Thing” by Derrick Barnes, and “The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver” by Gene Barretta. The books celebrate stories of social justice, civil rights, and equality for all people, and will be accompanied by ukulele tunes.

The Arts Council’s latest public art presence, “UNTITLED 2017 (FEAR EATS THE SOUL) (WHITE FLAG),” will be installed on the roof of the Arts Council’s Paul Robeson Center for the Arts. Designed by Rirkrit Tiravanika, the flag is a black and white adaptation of the American flag that was created in response to unrest in the current political climate. The artist hopes that it will inspire a sense of community and togetherness resonating in the ever-present issue of racism and prejudice. The flag will be visible from the street until February 28.

Princeton University Concerts put together a diverse playlist celebrating the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. with music that both inspired and was inspired by his work as a preacher, organizer and Nobel Laureate.

In addition to these public celebrations, several University departments will commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy with events and initiatives open to the Princeton University community.

Wintersession will open on Monday, Jan. 18., with an evening centered on race and racism at Princeton University. Princeton students, staff and faculty can register for the roundtable discussion up to two hours before the event begins at 6 p.m.

The event features the unveiling of the virtual gallery, “To Be Known and Heard: Systemic Racism and Princeton University,” a vibrant visual narrative experience that confronts the legacy of racism within the University’s history and present. The exhibit also shares historical and contemporary examples of anti-racist work at the University, details significant student activism efforts over the years, and incorporates community members’ constructive visions for a more equal and just University and world. It includes a chronology of key moments and people in Princeton University’s racial history and several thematic sections in which attendees can explore and learn.

The launch event will alternate between attendees looking through the virtual gallery themselves and learning from the reflections of roundtable discussion participants:

Brian Eugenio Herrera, Tera Hunter, Beth Lew-Williams, Dan-el Padilla Peralta, Tennile Haynes, and Judy Jarvis

From left: Brian Eugenio Herrera, Tera Hunter, Beth Lew-Williams, Dan-el Padilla Peralta, Tennile Haynes, and Judy Jarvis

The John H. Pace Jr. ’39 Center for Civic Engagement is encouraging all Princetonians to reflect on Martin Luther King Jr.’s framing of “A Beloved Community,” which is the theme for the Center’s fifth annual Month of Service. The Center offers some prompts for reflection and action on their website.

As part of Wintersession, the Pace Center will also launch its Princeton RISE Media & Dialogue Club on January 18. Princeton RISE (Recognizing Inequities and Standing for Equality) is an anti-racist grant initiative. Through an intensive, five-day workshop series, participants will engage with a variety of sources on topics like digital activism, mutual aid networks and how we tell our history.

Also as part of Wintersession, the Art Museum will be using a discussion of Martin Luther King Jr. to kick off a week-long course examining how museums can and must advance the work of anti-racism, and how a museum can be a resource in building stronger citizenship.

Eddie Glaude Jr., the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and professor of African American Studies, will be the keynote speaker at an MLK Day event hosted by the King Coalition in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and UW-Madison Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement. The event, which begins at 6 p.m., will be held virtually and can be streamed on the Coalition’s website.