A wide range of educational and cultural programs and community service events are underway as Virginia Tech celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week Jan. 15-20. All events are free (unless otherwise noted) and open to the public.
Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and noted civil rights, religious, and political figure, delivered a keynote address in Burruss Hall Auditorium Monday evening, following a press conference held at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. Rev. Jackson’s lecture was followed by a candlelight vigil on the Drillfield.
The MLK Week Celebration initially got underway on Sunday, Jan. 15 as university and community leaders joined for the annual NAACP Community MLK Celebration at Blacksburg Presbyterian Church.
Monday morning, Virginia Tech hosted a community breakfast at Squires Student Center. Franklin McCain, one of the original four who took part in the Woolworth sit-ins in Greensboro, N.C., on Feb. 1, 1960, and began a sit-in movement that swept the South and caused racial barriers to crack, spoke at the breakfast.
Carl Mack, executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) delivered a speech on Tuesday in Haymarket Theatre in Squires Student Center. Mack, a project engineer for Metro King County in Seattle, Wash., for almost two decades, spent six years as president of the Seattle King County Branch of the NAACP.
On Wednesday, a variety of musical, dance, and other cultural artists performed at Burruss Hall Auditorium at 7 p.m.
A documentary film on the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be shown on Thursday, Jan. 19 at the Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg.
On Friday, Jan. 20, Virginia Tech will hold its ninth annual Diversity Summit from 2 to 5 p.m. in Owens Banquet Room. The Diversity Summit, which brings students, faculty and staff together to address issues of diversity and inclusion, will also include a poster session on diversity research at the university.
Throughout the week, students, faculty and staff will be invited to participate in ongoing service projects that reflect the spirit of Dr. King’s teachings. The first service project gathering was held Monday, at noon in Colonial Hall, Squires Student Center. Service projects will continue through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (in the Jamestown Room of Squires Student Center Wednesday, and the Norfolk Room of Squires Thursday and Friday).
In addition, a series of brown bag lunches and teach-ins held from noon to 1 p.m. will be held through the week beginning on Tuesday, Jan 17. Tuesday’s was held on the Henderson Lawn; Wednesday will be at Squires Student Center; Thursday will be at Torgersen Museum; and Friday at Squires Student Center.
As part of the week-long celebration, Virginia Tech and the Montgomery County-Radford City-Floyd County Chapter of the NAACP are sponsoring a poster and essay contest for elementary, middle and high school students throughout Montgomery County and other communities in Virginia.
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week celebration is coordinated by the Virginia Tech Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity, and is supported by several campus and community organizations, including the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Division of Student Affairs, Office of the President, the Pamplin College of Business, the Montgomery-Radford City-Floyd County NAACP, Montgomery County School Board, NAACP Student Chapter, National Society of Black Engineers student chapter, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., African Student Association, Black Student Alliance, Black Business Council, Pamplin Multicultural Diversity Committee, Black Caucus, Service Learning Center, and Omega Delta Gamma. Rev. Jackson’s lecture was made possible through the support of ChoicePoint.
For more information, please contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at 540-231-1820.