Belmont Hosts Events for 2020 MLK Celebration

Candlelight Vigil

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Belmont University’s annual MLK Week programming began Friday, January 17, and will continue holding a wide array of special events to commemorate the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, January 18 through the week. With the quote above exemplifying the importance of community service and resonating beautifully with the mission of Belmont University, the University is again partnering with universities throughtout the Nashville community for the 10th annual MLK Day of Service.

Fisher, Rome and Harris at Kick off Breakfast
From Left to Right: Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher, Fisk University President Dr. Kevin Rome, and American Baptist College President Dr. Forrest Harris, Sr. at the kick-off breakfast

This year’s theme is “A Call for Unity: Preserving the Dream.” The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Program was established in January of 1997 at Belmont University as a celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Each of the commemorative events are open to the Belmont community and to the public and all are welcome and invited to attend. Events each year include a candlelight vigil in commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement, a chapel service, and a campus dialogue on diversity, race and ethnicity.

The week’s kick off event on Friday, January 17 featured a celebration breakfast with keynote speaker Dr. Kevin Rome, president of Fisk University. Following the breakfast was a chapel service called, “What should Dr. King’s dream look like today?” at 10 a.m. in the Janet Ayers Academic Center Chapel with Pastor John Faison of Watson Grove Baptist Church.

The 10th annual day of service included projects addressing food security, community beautification and other community needs. A number of local organizations served as volunteer sites, including Alex Green Elementary School, the Adventure Science Center, Project Transformation, Sexual Assault Center and The Nashville Food Project, among others. More than 600 volunteers from Belmont, Fisk, Lipscomb, Meharry, Nashville State, Tennessee State University, Trevecca and Vanderbilt, as well as other area colleges and universities, participated to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King.

Faison Speaking in Chapel
John R. Faison, Sr., senior pastor at Watson Grove Baptist Church, speaks in Chapel kicking off MLK week at Belmont University

The remaining events are free and open to both the Belmont community and the general public. For additional information, visit Belmont’s MLK website at

  • Monday, January 20 – MLK National Observance
    • MLK from a child’s perspective will be held on the 4th floor of the Inman Building in the Frist Lecture Hall at 6 p.m. The event will include an art and essay exhibit featuring the work of local school age children.
    • A candlelight vigil sponsored by BSA will be held on the 4th floor of the Inman Building in the Frist Lecture Hall at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, January 21Group shot of volunteers at Day of Service
    • Campus meet-ups will take place throughout the day in the Beaman Lobby, Janet Ayers Academic Center and Massey School of Business to discuss perspectives on topics related to this years’ MLK theme.
  • Wednesday, January 22
    • A chapel service titled, “Who is MLK?” will take place in the Janet Ayers Academic Center Chapel at 10 a.m.
    • A worship service for MLK sponsored by BSA will take place in the Janet Ayers Academic Center Chapel at 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 23
    • A showing of the Aretha Franklin movie, “Amazing Grace” and a following discussion will be held in the Johnson Center Theater at 6 p.m.
  • Friday, January 24
    • A chapel surrounding the topics of legal aid and civil rights will take place in the Janet Ayers Academic Center Chapel at 10 a.m.