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HomeCommunity RelationsBelmont University Celebrates MLK Day with Week of Special Events

Belmont University Celebrates MLK Day with Week of Special Events

In celebration of the Jan. 15 anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth date, Belmont University will hold a week of special events. As part of the 16th annual series of Commemorative Programs, our theme for 2012 is Jazz, Freedom, and Democracy:  Living Dr. King’s Symphony of Brotherhood. The University’s commitment to Martin Luther King Jr. Week through classroom and special events began in 1997 and continues to grow today.

“Dr. King poetically coined his vision a ‘symphony of brotherhood’ in his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, and the beauty and complexity of jazz highlights the struggles and achievements of American diversity.  Today, Belmont University sets the stage for such unity where students, staff and faculty of diverse backgrounds work, serve, study and pray together. This week of events merges the faith and talents of the Belmont community in honor of Dr. King’s legacy,” said Cheryl L. Slay, assistant professor of music business and chair of Belmont’s 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee.

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

  • Wednesday, Jan. 11, 10 a.m. – MLK Chapel Service in Neely Dining Hall. Fisk alumna Carolyn McKinstry will share her message of hope and the story of her survival of the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 11, 7 p.m. – MLK Worship Service in Neely Dining Hall. The Black Students Association will lead an evening of praise and worship in honor of the legacy of Dr. King.
  • Friday, Jan. 13, 10 a.m. — MLK Convocation in the Lila Bunch Library Multimedia Room. Music and music business professors will present images and sounds of jazz, popular music and the civil rights movement as they explore the connections between music and protest movements.
  • Monday, Jan. 16, 7 p.m. – MLK Tribute in the Curb Event Center Arena. Students will read a poem and show a clip from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech during half time of the men’s basketball game against Florida Gulf Coast University. The Rev. Roderick Belin, pastor of Kairos Community Church, will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
  • Tuesday, Jan. 17, 7 p.m. — Equality Jam Session in Curb Café. In the spirit of collaboration and improvisation, students and faculty will connect through musical performances.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 18, 10 a.m. – Good News for the Poor in Neely Dining Hall. R.V. Brown lectures on the transforming power of Jesus Christ and his parents’ lessons on prayer, farming and surviving.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 18, 7 p.m. — Candlelight Concert & Vigil in Neely Dining Hall. Belmont faculty and student musicians join with Nashville musicians to explore the connections between jazz music and historical events in the black freedom struggle.
  • Friday, Jan. 20, 7 p.m. — Journey in Jazz Concert in the Vince Gill Room. Jazz musician Rahsaan Barber and his band Everyday Magic and Belmont faculty Cheryl Slay and Bruce Dudley offer a performance and dynamic conversation about the complexities of jazz and how the genre relates to American identity and democracy.

In addition to campus programs, The Corporation for National and Community Service has awarded Belmont University a $1,000 grant to complete two MLK Day of Service projects on Jan. 14 in conjunction with Lipscomb University and Tennessee State University. U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper will speak to nearly 200 students before they volunteer at The American Red Cross and Feed the Children. The grant will be used towards the purchase of supplies for the projects as well as transportation, T-shirts and lunch for volunteers.

“We are so excited to be partnering again with TSU in the project and to have Lipscomb on board this year.  The opportunity for diverse student populations from our three universities to come together in service to our community is a fitting tribute to Dr. King’s dream,” said Tim Stewart, Belmont’s director of service learning.

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