Campus News

January 11, 2010

King Week 2010

Remembering King through service

Martin Luther King Jr. was an eloquent speaker, a man of service, a son of Africa, and a lover of jazz music. His life “demonstrated a commitment to others and giving a voice to the voiceless,” says Cynthia Shaw, chair of Emory’s MLK Holiday Observance Committee for the past 19 years.

Emory’s King Week, an annual celebration of King’s life and work, strives to highlight the diverse interests of the civil rights leader with service, entertainment, education and memorial activities Jan. 18-27. The week-long celebration serves as “a reminder of how he transcended race, gender and socioeconomic status to touch people all over the world,” says Shaw.

The annual tree planting in the Martin Luther King historic district kicks off King Week 2010 on the national holiday. The day of service has expanded this year to be known as “Emory’s Day On.”

Volunteer opportunities now include 15 new projects around the city in conjunction with Project Open Hand, Samaritan House and Senior Citizens of Metro Atlanta to accommodate all students, staff and faculty interested in volunteering in the community on the King national holiday. 

King “embodied service” and more volunteer opportunities honor his legacy, says Shaw. Emory College junior Rylee Sommers-Flanagan agrees. She helped create Emory’s Day On to allow more opportunities for more students to volunteer.

“Dr. King's legacy is one of nonviolence and a commitment to service, and our activities are intended to promote unity among the student body, while also emphasizing the incredible diversity we are so lucky to embody,” Sommers-Flanagan says. “I see this as on par with Dr. King's legacy.”

Also new this year is an African drum circle, which will feature Atlanta’s Drum Café performing on West African djembe drums in the Coca Cola Commons on Jan. 20.

Kimberle Crenshaw, law professor at UCLA and Columbia law schools, will give the keynote address, “Gender and the Civil Rights Movement,” on Jan. 22 in Cannon Chapel. 

Other events taking place during King Week include the popular jazz vesper service, and a viewing of the Emory-produced documentary, “The Journey There and Back,” on Jan. 19. The film highlights the experience of Emory staff and students who attended the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama. Rev. Joseph Lowery, who delivered the benediction at the inauguration and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, will lead a worship service on Jan. 24 in Cannon Chapel.  Shaw says this event is a special treat for the community because Lowery’s “occasions to preach are few and far between.”

Emory has produced a week-long MLK celebration since 1991, a move Shaw says was important. “I felt we could not do anything less because Atlanta is his home.”

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Related Information

  • See the King Week calendar for a full schedule of events.
  • MLK Day service opportunities

    At Emory, the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday is day on, not off. Sign up to serve on Monday, Jan. 18 at one of the following projects:

    Tree Planting: Volunteers will plant trees in the Martin Luther King Jr. historic district with Trees Atlanta and reflect on their service over lunch. Sponsored by Volunteer Emory and the Nu Delta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. Pre-registration is required; to volunteer contact Harold McNaron (404-727-6268).

    Other Emory Day On Projects: To register to volunteer at other community service sites around the city such as Samaritan House, Senio Citizens of Metro Atlanta or Project Open Hand, contact Rylee Sommers-Flanagan.