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January 2020

2020 Vanderbilt University MLK Commemorative Series
Friday, Jan. 17 to Monday, Jan. 20

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Series was established in 1985 at Vanderbilt University. Commemorating King’s life and legacy, the university community gathers annually on this national holiday for a  series of programs  including: participation in the city-wide march,  community service , educational forums and lectures. In honoring King, Vanderbilt University affirms its own commitment to the goals of peace and racial justice to which King dedicated his life.


Friday, January 17

MLK Commemorative Series Kickoff f eaturing James Threalkill, BS’79
Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center | Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Come out and enjoy great soul food and fellowship as we officially kick off the MLK Commemoration.

Saturday, January 18

2020 Joint Day of Service – The Sit-ins @ 60: Students. Action. Justice. 
Kean Hall, Tennessee State University | 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Vanderbilt invites you to join more than 400 students across the city of Nashville in a day of action and reflection as we honor the contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr. in seeking justice and challenging the discourse on civil (dis)obedience. This year’s day of service will specifically honor the 60th anniversary of the Nashville student sit-in movement and feature Freedom Rider and Sit-in leader Rip Patton. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to join us for projects that address specific community needs through intentional service and action. For more info and to register, visit the Office of Active Citizenship and Service website:

Sunday, January 19

MLK Commemorative Series 2020 Keynote Event
Featuring: Janelle Monáe and Yusef Salaam
Langford Auditorium | 
5:30–8 p.m. 

The event will begin with an inspirational candlelight vigil that bears witness to the shining light that Martin Luther King Jr. was in the world and to the continuing light of his legacy. This will be followed by the MLK Day Writing Contest with Metro Nashville Public Schools, and then the MLK Keynote Panel Address featuring Janelle Monáe, a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, performer, producer and actor, and Yusef Salaam, one of the Exonerated Five, formerly known as the Central Park Five. Monáe and Salaam will sit down for a conversation moderated by the Divinity School Dean Emilie M. Townes, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society. The discussion will center on this year’s commemorative series theme, “The Power of Storytelling: Our Stories Connect Us.” 

Monday, January 20

MLK Day March and Convocation
Buses leave from The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons and Kirkland Circle | 9:00 a.m.–1 p.m. (check-in begins at 8 a.m.)

Buses for the 2020 MLK Day March arrive for pick up at Kirkland Circle (near the intersection of West End Ave. and Louise Ave.) and The Ingram Commons. Lite breakfast refreshments will be provided at both sites. The buses depart campus at 9:00 a.m.(tentative time) and transport participants to the Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church near the intersection of Jefferson St. and 28th Avenue North. The official photo will be taken ahead of the March/Convocation at 9:45 a.m. The March will start at 10:00 a.m. and will culminate in attending the Convocation at TSU’s Gentry Center. Immediately after the Convocation, buses will be available to transport participants back to campus. 

MLK Day Blood Drive with Vanderbilt Hillel
Schulman Center for Jewish Life |  11 a.m.5 p.m. 

Save a life this MLK Day by participating in Hillel’s annual MLK Blood Drive. Take a moment and make a difference. Choose the time that works best for you! Walk-ins will be accommodated but pre-registrants are preferred. 

Nashville Freedom Ride Tour
Leaving from Branscomb Circle | 2–6:30 p.m.

This is an RSVP event only (priority given to Vanderbilt students). Please email Nadine De La Rosa for more information.

Afternoon Teach-Ins | 2–3:15 p.m. & 3:30–4:45 p.m.

Afternoon Teach-Ins | 2–3:15 p.m. & 3:30–4:45 p.m. |

*All teach-ins will be offered for GME credit