The University of Michigan 27th Annual MLK Symposium

50 Years Later: (R)Evolution of the Dream

By: Mike Licht,

By: Mike Licht,

On Monday, January 21st the University of Michigan will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s (MLK) contributions to the civil rights movement and to nonviolent activism. The University has a rich and varied number of events to celebrate both the progression of the civil rights movement and to reflect on where the movement stands today. The bill to introduce Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a federal holiday was first proposed by Congressman John Conyers Jr. of Michigan a few months after MLK’s death in 1968. The bill languished in Congress for many years and was not signed into law until 1983; reflecting the continuance of racial politics long after MLK’s death (Read more:,8599,1872501,00.html#ixzz2ILkMItBW) .

In lieu of listing all of the events on campus this Monday please peruse this short list and go to the MLK Symposium Home Page to learn about more events.

Annual MLK Children and Youth Day

  • From 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM at the Modern Languages Building (map) this event has a multitude of activities for K-12 students including: storytelling, guided discussions and group projects, skits, rap poetry, and a range of musical performances.

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Symposium Keynote Lecture


  • 10:00 AM at Hill Auditorium by speaker Morris Dees. In 1970, Mr. Dees formed the Southern Poverty Law Center, along with Julian Bond and Joseph Levin.  Early Center cases included integrating the Alabama State Troopers and desegregating the Montgomery YMCA.  The Center, funded by donations from over 300,000 citizens across the nation, quickly grew into one of America’s most successful and innovative public interest law firms.In 1980, the Center founded the Intelligence Project in response to resurgence in organized racist activity.  The project monitors hate groups and develops legal strategies for protecting citizens from violence-prone groups.  A made-for-television movie about Mr. Dees aired on NBC.  Line of Fire describes his successful fight against the Ku Klux Klan.  It included the $7 million precedent-setting judgment against the United Klans of America on behalf of the mother of Michael Donald, a young black man lynched by the Klan in Mobile, Alabama.  Wayne Rogers portrayed him in the feature film, Ghosts of Mississippi, about the murder of civil rights worker Medgar Evers.Klansmen burned the Center offices in 1983.  The arsonists were convicted but not before their leader plotted to kill Mr. Dees.  More than thirty men have since been imprisoned for plots to harm him or destroy Center property.

Culturally-Tailored Interventions: Lessons Learned from the Black Panther Party’s Survival Programs

  • 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM in 1755 SPH I with Dr. Rebecca Hanson. Dr. Hanson’s  areas of interests are the causes and consequences of childhood obesity in multiethnic populations, she will share insight on this year’s symposium theme during her presentation.

Unequal Burdens and Unparalleled Opportunities

  • 11:45 AM at the Towsley Center in the Dow Auditorium with speaker Dr. Carmen Green, Professor of Anesthesiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Health Management and Policy Professor of Health Management & Policy, School of Public Health and Faculty Associate, Research Center for Group Dynamics, ISR


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