History of the Series
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Lectures were established at Vanderbilt University in 1985 as a celebration of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his significant contribution to Civil Rights. Held each January, the lectures are designed to educate the Vanderbilt and Nashville communities about King’s legacy. The Series stand as a symbolic affirmation of the university’s commitment to the cause of racial justice served by King.
The lectures focus on King’s influence on society and on broader social and scholarly subjects directly related to the Civil Rights Movement. The religious heritage of King and the artistic and literary treatment of the movement are also important themes in many of the lectures. Noted scholars, political, civil rights and religious leaders, entertainers and artists and “survivors”–those who knew and worked with King–have been featured speakers at the series.