Written By: Helena Mazzarella
Classes at Adrian College will not be in session on Jan. 17 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. While students and faculty will have the day off, there are no planned events on campus for this federal holiday. In lieu of a dedicated on-campus event, there will be various Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations throughout South-Eastern Michigan.
The Jackson County Branch NAACP is set to host a (virtual) day of service on Monday at 10 a.m. The event, with the theme, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Honoring the Past while Preparing for the Future,” will include a presentation by keynote speaker Dr. Pamela Pugh. Pugh, who serves on the State of Michigan Board of Education, is deeply involved in the local community. Pugh is the founder of Regeneration LLC, which is a business that works to increase economically sustainable and healthy urban communities through various public organizations. Attendance at the event is free; however, there will be scholarships available to sponsor on behalf of the Jackson County Branch NAACP. The NAACP’s local purpose is to create a positive change in the African American Community through effective leadership and advocacy, empowering the community to address short and long-term issues facing its citizens.
Another free event is located at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Mich. The museum is celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. by providing free admission to historical presentations and artifacts.
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit is also celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The special Martin Luther King Jr. Day events will be free with museum admission, which is $15/ages 13-61, $12/ages 3-12 and 62 plus, and free for those under the age of three. Former U.S. Ambassador and civil rights activist Andrew Young will be the (virtual) keynote speaker for the event.
In addition to various museum exhibitions, there will be a showing of “King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery to Memphis” at the Detroit Film Theatre on Monday at 10:30 a.m. The documentary follows Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from the year 1955 to 1968, as he rose to become a prominent civil rights activist.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is celebrated on the third Monday in January, remembers King for his achievements during the 1960’s civil rights movement. In addition, there are a number of events happening within close proximity to campus that celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. while educating the community about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.
The opportunities to learn about the rights Martin Luther King Jr. fought for did not end after Jan. 17. On-campus this semester, the English department is offering a topics class focused on African American literature. The course, which is a humanities distribution and open to first-year students, ties historical events to pieces of literature written by African American authors. While Adrian College is not putting on a specific Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, there are numerous events nearby that students can attend in addition to educational opportunities throughout the semester.