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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.

As a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the university is not hosting in-person gatherings of any kind. This includes marches, service projects, lectures or other traditional programming. To support the health of our community, Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021 celebrations have been streamlined and will be hosted virtually on Jan 18.

2019 Nashville MLK Day March (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)
2019 Nashville MLK Day March (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)

Dinaw Mengestu

2021 Martin Luther King Commemorative Virtual Event
with keynote speaker Dinaw Mengestu
Monday, Jan. 18

“AT HOME IN THE WORLD: PLACE, IDENTITY and AMERICAN DREAM”

Ethiopian American novelist Dinaw Mengestu, known for his powerful and personal depictions of the immigrant experience and perspectives on the American dream, will be the keynote speaker for Vanderbilt University’s 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative event.

The virtual event, “At Home in the World: Place, Identity and the American Dream,” will take place from 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. CT on Jan. 18 and is open to the Vanderbilt community. The discussion will be moderated by Karla M. McKanders, Clinical Professor of Law, Associate Director, Legal Clinic at Vanderbilt University

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