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UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Empowerment through Involvement
 


        Martin Luther King, Jr.
        Commemorative Events
        January 12-16, 2012
        Columbia Campus




The University of South Carolina will commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with three special events in January. This will mark the 29th consecutive year that the university has held a formal program to pay tribute to the late civil rights leader. For information about any of the University's events listed below, contact USC's Office of Equal Opportunity Programs at 803-777-3854.

USC BLSA Symposium
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast
Martin Luther King Jr. Evening Concert Series
15th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service
Related Links


USC BLSA Symposium

Black Law Students Association Celebration
Commemorating the Life and Legacy of
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
6:00 p.m., USC School of Law Auditorium

Full Program Information (PDF)

The symposium will feature Dr. Cleveland L. Sellers, Jr., president of Voorhees College; attorney I.S. Leevy Johnson and his son, the Rev. Dr. Chris Leevy Johnson; and attorney Donald Gist and his daughter Judge Andrea Gist-Benjamin. The panel's focus is on Building Pipelines to the Future: Advancing to the Next Level, Fulfilling the Dream, Advocating for the Future. In the context of this topic, panelists will discuss the life and legacy of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement and its impact on their lives as well as on current legal and social problems in South Carolina and the nation.

The symposium, which is sponsored by the Black Law Students Association, will be held at the Law School Auditorium and will be moderated by Judi Gatson of WIS-TV. The USC School of Law will sponsor a reception immediately following the program.


Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast

A Commemorative Breakfast Celebrating
the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Friday, January 13, 2012
7:30 a.m., The Zone at Williams-Brice Stadium
Tickets: $7 for adults, $2 for students

Full Program Information (PDF)

The University's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast is set for 7:30 a.m., Jan. 13 at The Zone at Williams-Brice Stadium. Willie Bolden, who was charged by King to coordinate the famous mule train, will speak. USC speakers include Bobby Gist, executive assistant to the president for Equal Opportunity Programs; Dennis Pruitt, vice president for student affairs; Joe Wright, student government president; Carl Wells, director of access and equity/diversity training; and Venis Manigo, director of purchasing. Tickets for the breakfast are $7 for the general public and $2 for students and can be purchased at the Koger Center.

The main speaker for the breakfast will be the Rev. Willie Bolden, a former member of Dr. King's administration. He was charged by Dr. King to coordinate the famous mule train. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. announced the Poor People's Campaign in December 1967, just a few months before his assassination. As part of this campaign, thousands of African Americans traveled from across the U.S. to Washington to petition the government for what King called an "economic bill of rights." The most symbolic of the groups to make the journey to the capital came from Marks, Mississippi. Rather than traveling by bus or car, these people came in mule-drawn wagons.

Planning for the Poor People's Campaign began in early 1968. It was to be the largest and most wide-ranging civil disobedience campaign ever run by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and was conceived in part by Marian Wright, a lawyer with strong ties to the Mississippi civil rights movement. The campaign sought to unite Americans of all ethnicities, including poor Hispanic, Native American, white, Asian, and African American communities, in a movement that would transcend race while seeking social and economic justice by non-violent means. Despite King's assassination on April 4, plans for the campaign went ahead, led by the Rev. Dr. Ralph David Abernathy. On Monday, May 13, the Mule Train set off from Marks, Mississippi, en route to Atlanta. For the first part of its journey, around 115 people traveled with the Mule Train in 15 to 20 wagons. Participants ranged in age from 8 months to over 70 years, and throughout the journey to Washington new people joined the caravan as others dropped out.

From the outset the Mule Train was beset by problems associated with the mules and wagons themselves, including a lack of skilled blacksmiths and wagoneers, few tools, and uncooperative mules. In addition, poor weather and threats of confrontation with hostile whites and legal authorities hampered the caravan's progress. After leaving Marks, the train traveled east across northern Mississippi and Alabama and into Georgia - a distance of about 500 miles that took a little over one month to complete. In Atlanta the entire caravan, including wagons and mules, was loaded onto a train to Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington D.C. Upon arrival, the Mule Train was reassembled, and on June 19 crossed the Potomac River and entered the capital to join thousands who already had arrived to protest civil rights.

Other speakers at the Commemorative Breakfast will include Bobby Gist, executive assistant to the president for Equal Opportunity Programs; Dr. Dennis Pruitt, vice president for Student Affairs; Joe Wright, president of Student Government ; Dr. Carl Wells, director of access and equity/diversity training; and Venis Manigo, director of Purchasing.

Pruitt and Wells, will present the annual Social Justice Awards to a faculty member, staff member, and student. The awards recognize individuals who have exemplified the philosophies of King through random or ongoing acts of community service, social justice, or racial reconciliation. Manigo will announce the recipients of awards recognizing the University's 2011 outreach efforts to small and minority businesses, including recognition of an outstanding small and minority business that is serving the University community.


Martin Luther King Jr. Evening Concert Series

Martin Luther King, Jr. Remembered Through The Songs of Freedom
Sunday, January 15, 2012
6:00 p.m., Koger Center for the Performing Arts
Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for students

The USC Gospel Choir will be featured in concert with the renowned Hallelujah Singers of Beaufort, S.C., at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 15, in the USC Koger Center. Following the theme Martin Luther King, Jr. Remembered Through The Songs of Freedom, the concert is presented in conjunction with the University's 2012 King Celebration. Tickets are on sale now for $10 at the Russell House Information Desk and the Koger Center. Student tickets are $5.

Marlena Smalls and The Hallelujah Singers have entertained and inspired audiences worldwide with their spiritual and blues performances including music and narration celebrating and preserving the West African heritage that shaped today's Gullah culture.


15th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

The 15th-annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 16. Every January, hundreds of University students take part in service projects around the Columbia community.

Sponsored by the Carolina Service Council and Community Service Programs, the event gives volunteers the chance to work with nonprofit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, Home Works of America, and Reliant Hospice.

To register as a volunteer for the Day of Service, go to http://www.sa.sc.edu/communityservice/mlk/.


Related Links

King Celebration
Sponsored by The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee, Inc., this site includes a listing of local, national and international events that are planned for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.

The King Center
Official website for The King Center, established in 1968 in Atlanta by Coretta Scott King as a memorial dedicated to the advancement of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Directory
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Atlanta and The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University have compiled primary and secondary documents covering the life and career of the civil rights leader. The site contains a biography, a chronology of King's life, articles, and a searchable bibliography of reference sources. The site also includes access to letters, speeches, and commentary written by King. A simple, free registration form is required to access the primary documents.