UMich's MLK Symposium to feature actor Hill Harper, Marjorie Lee Browne Colloquium and more

King at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (Credit: Wikipedia)
King at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (Credit: Wikipedia)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan's Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium begins this week and runs throughout the entire month of January with over 40 events, ranging from lectures; to live performances, exhibits and more, courtesy of the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives. Just over 20 of those events will take place Monday, Jan. 15, to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

As is usually the case for A4, we've tried to whittle the list down into our standard "Top Five" format; however, we want to encourage everyone to attend as many of these events as they can, as they are all equally important and timely. With that in mind, the full list of events can be found here.

Monday, Jan. 15

Keynote Memorial Lecture: Hill Harper 

The award-winning actor, best-selling author and philanthropist will deliver the 32nd annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium keynote memorial lecture beginning at 10 a.m. and it is sure to be an event you won't want to miss. Harper is known for his work supporting youth across the country through his writings and his Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, which provides underserved youth "a path to empowerment and educational excellence" through services like mentoring and academic enrichment programming, according to the University Record. If you cannot attend in person, the livestream of the lecture can be accessed here

Music Against Silence

Beginning at 12 p.m., Tiffany Ng, assistant professor of Carillon and University carillonist at UMich, will perform music from the Civil Rights Movement and black jazz composers. She will also give the Ann Arbor premiere of Kalvert Nelson’s "Carillon Dances." Nelson is a black composer, trumpeter and music educator who has been commissioned by distinguished ensembles such as the Kronos Quartet, Oklahoma Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic and many dance companies. His influences span jazz, folk, hip-hop, theater and film, and his works often promote social justice and black culture. The public is welcome inside the belfry during the concert and afterwards for a Q&A with the performers and student music arrangers. 

The Fierce Urgency of Now -- What is Y(our) Story?

The theme of this year's MLK Symposium is a powerful one, asking individuals to tell their story and to "claim ownership of the challenges we all face." The Fierce Urgency of Now "... compels us to not only act but to also acknowledge that the absence of action and the continuation of silence, serves to bring us deeper into the shadows of division.” The goal is to have members of the University community share their brief stories through written or spoken word, performance pieces, poems, art, music or song. The event begins at 1 p.m. 

Marjorie Lee Browne Colloquium -- Hidden Figures: Bringing Math, Physics, History and Race to Hollywood

Established in 1999 by the Department of Mathematics, this colloquium is designed to bring a distinguished speaker to campus to discuss their research but also to address the issue of diversity in the sciences. This talk was designed and originally to be presented by professor Rudy Horne, who died in December 2017. Talitha Washington, Howard University professor and National Science Foundation program director, will present instead. The discussion begins at 4 p.m. 

Me, the "Other" -- A Documentary About Diversity on Three Washtenaw County Campuses

We could not do a top-five list without including a movie, but trust us when we say that we're excited about this one. This documentary explores stories of differences due to prejudice, ignorance and discrimination by focusing on 12 students at three Washtenaw County campuses. As a result, the filmmakers discovered that “otherness” is never one thing. "Me, the 'Other'" screens at the Michigan Theater at 7 p.m. 

Do you have an upcoming event that you want to share with us? Should we be writing about it? Let us know in the comments below! 

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