Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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A series of events centers on the theme of “Advancing Democracy Through Dialogue.”

Melvin Rogers
Brown University political science professor Melvin Rogers will deliver the keynote speech on Jan. 22. Events honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy start with an employee breakfast on Jan. 15. (Photo by Peter Goldberg)

Dartmouth is honoring the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this month with events centered on the theme of “Advancing Democracy Through Dialogue.”

Among the special MLK-centered offerings is a keynote address by noted author and scholar on race and democracy Melvin Rogers, professor of political science and associate director of the Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Brown University, and a panel conversation with Osage Nation leaders and artists, including Maria Redcorn-Miller ’89, discussing their consulting in the making of Martin Scorsese’s film Killers of the Flower Moon.

“With this year’s theme focused on democracy and dialogue, Professor Rogers immediately came to mind,” says Senior Vice President and Senior Diversity Officer Shontay Delalue, who worked with Rogers during her tenure as vice president for institutional equity and diversity at Brown.

“His latest book, The Darkened Light of Faith, helps readers consider democracy from the intellectual tradition of African American political thought. His keynote is sure to give the Dartmouth community a lot to think about in terms of what we can learn from past figures in reshaping American democracy—especially in the divisive times we are living in today,” Delalue says.

“To honor Dr. King, we started with the idea of lifting up the principle that everyone has a voice,” adds Chloe Poston, vice president for culture, belonging, and strategic engagement. “The ability to have one’s voice be heard is a core tenet of democracy. Dr. King’s legacy reminds us to listen to one another, work through differences, and find common ground.”

The keynote event, Advancing Democracy Through Dialogue: An Evening with Melvin Rogers, begins at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 22 in Cook Auditorium following introductory remarks from Delalue and Anthony Fosu, president of the Dartmouth chapter of the NAACP.

At Brown, Rogers teaches courses on democratic theory, the history of American and African American political philosophy, and pragmatism. His work is widely published in the popular and scholarly press, and is focused on the overlapping themes of character, culture, and politics in nurturing a healthy democratic community.

Rogers is one of three co-directors of The Democracy Project at the Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Brown—a project that promotes the study of democratic values, norms, cultures, institutions, and practices. Among his published works is The Darkened Light of Faith: Race, Democracy, and Freedom in African American Political Thought, and he is co-editor of African American Political Thought: A Collected History.

Rogers will also meet privately with students for a discussion moderated by Anna Mahoney, executive director and senior policy fellow in the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy. After his keynote there will be a post-event reception and book signing. Rogers’ speech will also be livestreamed. Registration is required.

The full slate of events kicks off with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day employee breakfast at 8 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 15, in the Class of 1953 Commons North Dining Hall. Associate Professor of Sociology Emily Walton will speak on “Dialogue Across Difference: The impact of King’s Legacy on Democracy.”

The breakfast is hosted by the Department of Human Resources, and registration is requested.

In conjunction with the showing of the Scorsese film earlier this month, the Hopkins Center for the Arts is hosting the public discussion with Osage Nation guests at 5 p.m. on Jan. 16, in the atrium of the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society. Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, the film’s assistant creative director Addie Roanhorse, film artistic consultant and Dartmouth alumna Redcorn-Miller ’89, and actor Yancey Red Corn will discuss their role in the film about the “reign of terror” against the oil-rich Osage Nation in the early 20th century and its place in the historical record.

The panel conversation will be moderated by Jami Powell, curator of Indigenous art at the Hood Museum of Art. The Office of the President, the Hood, Office of the Provost, Department of Native American and Indigenous Studies, the Irving Institute, and the Dartmouth Library are co-hosting the event.

A multifaith celebration lifting up the voices of students and featuring songs by the Dartmouth College Gospel Choir, sponsored by the William Jewett Tucker Center, will be held in Rollins Chapel at 5 p.m. on Jan. 25. This multifaith service centers on the voices of students from diverse religious and secular worldviews as they share what King’s legacy means to them. For more information, contact the Tucker Center.

Other MLK events include:

  • Geisel School of Medicine is hosting the annual “I Am the Dream: The Past, Present and Future” awards luncheon at 11 a.m. on Jan. 15 in Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center auditorium E and F, in partnership with Dartmouth Health and the Dartmouth Cancer Center. In honor of MLK Day and King’s legacy of justice and anti-poverty work, the Geisel/DH community, and the Upper Valley community are invited to help address food insecurity in the local communities of New Hampshire and Vermont.
  • The Tuck School of Business will host a showing of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on a continuous loop in Stell Hall at Tuck from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 15.
  • The Hopkins Center presents the film Rustin at 7 p.m. on Jan. 27 in Loew Auditorium in the Black Family Visual Arts Center. The movie tells the story of Bayard Rustin, an unsung hero of the civil rights era, a key organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, and Martin Luther King’s closest confidante—until deemed a liability to the movement because he was a gay ex-Communist. A discussion will follow with Darryl Barthé, lecturer of history, and Ralph Craig III, lecturer in religion.
  • The Institute for Black Intellectual and Cultural Life is hosting a presentation and conversation on “Hip Hop at 50,” featuring writer and activist Kevin Powell, who has published 14 books including Who Shot Ya? Three Decades of Hip Hop Photography. The event, which is open to the public, starts at 5 p.m. on Jan. 30, in 105 Dartmouth Hall.

More information about various events is at the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration page.