January 21, 2003

NPR's Smiley to give keynote address for King Week

By Michael Terrazas mterraz@emory.edu

National Public Radio (NPR) commentator and editorialist Tavis Smiley will headline Emory’s King Week 2003, a weeklong celebration of the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr.

As is the case every year, a range of service, educational, entertainment and memorial activities define King Week at Emory, beginning with yesterday’s (Jan. 20) annual Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday tree planting in Atlanta’s MLK Historic District.

Tonight’s keynote address by Smiley marks a return to earlier King Weeks since recent iterations have not featured a keynote address, said Cynthia Shaw, director of student development in Campus Life and chair of the University’s MLK Holiday Observance Committee.

“We were able to resurrect the keynote address because of the help of student organizations,” said Shaw, adding that one reason it had been dropped is the high appearance fees for potential big-name speakers.

Besides hosting “The Tavis Smiley Show” for NPR, Smiley also hosts “The Smiley Report” for ABC Radio and appears twice weekly on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.” He is the author of six books, most recently Keeping the Faith: Stories of Love, Courage, Healing and Hope from Black America, and he is the publisher of the bimonthly The Smiley Report. Smiley also started a foundation in his name that seeks to “encourage, empower and enlighten black youth.”

“Tavis Smiley is a figure who’s got a lot of mainstream media exposure and who’s using it to bring national concerns that affect African Americans to their attention,” said Mark Sanders, professor and chair of African American studies, a cosponsor of the Smiley lecture.

Smiley’s keynote lecture will be held tonight, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium. Free tickets are required and are available at the Dobbs Center ticket office.

Other notable King Week events include a revised Chapel Tea, held today at 4:30 p.m. in Cannon Chapel and featuring James Waits, former dean of the Candler School of Theology and current president of the Fund for Theological Education. Waits also will lead a worship service on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 11:15 a.m. in Cannon Chapel.

Also today, at 4 p.m. in Woodruff Library’s Jones Room, is an opening reception for “Enduring Legacy: Photographs by Jim Alexander from his Spirits/Martyrs/Heroes Project.” Detailing more than three decades of work by Atlanta photographer Alexander, the exhibit chronicles events that influenced the course of African American history. It will be on display through Feb. 28 in Schatten Gallery.

At 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22, the Spelman College Glee Club and Voices of Inner Strength gospel choir will perform at a concert and birthday cake celebration to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

The next day, Jan. 23, at 4 p.m. in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing auditorium, Angela Ferris Watkins, assistant professor of psychology at Spelman, will be guest speaker for the annual community service awards sponsored by the nursing school, the Rollins School of Public Health and Goizueta Business School.

Later in the afternoon on Jan. 24, at 5 p.m. in Cannon Chapel, Campus Life will sponsor “An Evening with Mercy Amba Oduyoye.” Oduyoye is Luce Visiting Professor of World Christianity at Columbia University, and she is former deputy general secretary of the World Council of Churches (1987–94) and current president of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians.

Other performances, forums, teas and exhibits are associated with Emory’s King Week activities. For a full listing of events, visit the University web calendar at






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