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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

MLK Program

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Program was established in January of 1997 at Belmont University as a celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Events are held each January as part of the observance of Dr. King's birthday. Each of these events are open to the Belmont community and to the public and all are welcome and invited to attend. Events each year include a candlelight vigil in commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement, a chapel service, a campus dialogue on diversity, race and ethnicity and an annual civil rights bus trip. 

 

2017 Schedule of Events


 

Monday, January 16th

Candlelight Vigil
7pm • meet in Beaman Student Life Center Lobby

In commemoration of the movement and Dr. King, join Belmont students, staff, and faculty as we walk in procession across campus, in the process contemplating different facets of the movement, highlighting various Civil Rights Leaders, and honoring the man who became a central organizing symbol for it.
Society and the Arts and Sciences Convocation

 

Wednesday, January 18th

Chapel Speaker: Dr. Marla Frederick 
“Dreams Deferred: Race and Faith Post Obama”
10am • Chapel

Dr. Marla Frederick studied at Spelman, Duke and Princeton and is Professor of African and African American Studies and the Study of Religion at Harvard University. Exploring the history of African American Christianity in the US, her Chapel convocation challenges us to think about race and religion in the 2016 election.  While much attention has been given to the religious reasons for white evangelical support of Trump, how do we understand the religious reasons for Black Christian support of Hillary Clinton?  Given the distinctive choices of the two communities, the talk begs the question, how now shall we live?   
Christian Faith and Tradition Convocation



Teaching Center Luncheon with Dr. Marla Fredericks
“Between Racial Reconciliation and Social Justice: The Challenge of Contemporary Christianity”

11:30 am – 1 pm • Massey Boardroom

This discussion opens up dialogue about “racial reconciliation” and the related ideals of  “diversity” and “inclusion.”  How helpful are these monikers when thinking about questions of race and justice?  What really are we after and what larger aims might we miss when we talk primarily in terms of “racial reconciliation,” “diversity” and “inclusion” to the exclusion of justice?
Faculty luncheon by RSVP only.

 

MLK Worship Service with the Black Students’ Association
6-8p.m. • Chapel

Belmont’s Black Students’ Association leads this event, which promises to be an interactive, enlightening, and fortifying experience for the Belmont community.
Christian Faith and Tradition Convocation 



Thursday, January 19th

KEYNOTE ADDRESS by Dr. Chris Williamson
“There’s More to Dr. King than I Have a Dream”
5pm-6:30pm • Chapel

Many in our nation have adopted a romanticized view of Dr. King that seeks to fit the expanse of his life and ministry into a puny picture frame comprised of a few iconic statements from his "I Have A Dream" speech.  Although that speech is arguably one the greatest speeches ever given in human history, Dr. King was so much more than that oration given in 1963. We know that King challenged white, religious moderates in his "Letter From a Birmingham Jail," he opposed the war in Vietnam in his sermon "Beyond Vietnam," he spoke of the importance of economic empowerment within the Black community in his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, and he spent his final days taking on the massive problem of resolving poverty in America.  It behooves us all to gain a more holistic portrait of the man that God used to bring about significant, positive change in American history. 
Society and the Arts and Sciences Convocation

 

Friday, January 20th

Chapel Speaker: Dr. Chris Williamson
“Even a King Needs The KING”
10am • Chapel

Dr. King's spiritual conversion took place over a cup of coffee in his kitchen after receiving numerous death threats during the Civil Rights Movement.  King said then that he could not rely on his father or his mother's faith to see him through. He had to know God for himself. Dr. Williamson examines 2 Kings 20:1-7 when the King of heaven had mercy on King Hezekiah after he cried out to God in prayer. The King of Kings met King Hezekiah and Dr. King in their times of despair and the good news is that He will meet us, too!  
Christian Faith and Tradition Convocation


Monday, January 23rd

Campus Dialogue on Race and Ethnicity
9am-10:50am • Massey Boardroom

Students, faculty, and staff will assemble for an open and frank discussion of how different people at Belmont experience race and ethnicity. This event will be conducted in a spirit of reconciliation rather than judgment or condemnation and is designed to strengthen our campus community.
Global Citizenship. Leadership, Diversity, the Professions Convocation