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2011 King Celebration Highlights King’s Continued Global Importance

By ADD SEYMOUR JR.

While the January celebration of global icon, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. ’48, is one of the nation’s treasured holidays, it takes on a special meaning at Morehouse, where King started as a 15-year-old in 1944.

“Morehouse played a prominent role in Dr. King’s moral and intellectual development, laying the foundation for his success at the graduate level and later rise to prominence as one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century,” said Vicki Crawford, executive director of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection.

“The King holiday provides a great context for re-dedicating ourselves to peace, justice and the values King espoused,” she said. “It provides an annual occasion, not only to honor the man, but to re-affirm the values and the culture of excellence that produced such a leader.”

Beginning Jan. 13, Morehouse’s most illustrious alumnus - who would have been 81 this year – will be celebrated through service, song and other events during the 2011 King Celebration.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, led by director Robert Spano, presents its annual “A King Celebration” Concert in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at 8 p.m. on Jan. 13. The popular concert will also feature the Morehouse and Spelman glee clubs.

On Jan. 15, King’s birthday, student organizations, along with chapel assistants from the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, will hold a candle light vigil on the King Chapel plaza.

King’s legacy of service highlights the Jan. 17 federal King holiday with the King Remembrance Day of Service, presented by the Bonner Office of Community Service. Students will go to various sites in Atlanta to work where they are needed. Afterwards they will meet in the African American Hall of Fame to talk about their experiences.

Some personal stories about King will highlight “A Public Conversation with Dr. Vincent Harding and Dr. Robert M. Franklin,” on Jan. 25 in the Bank of America Auditorium. The two will talk about King’s impact from the perspective of Harding who is a historian, theologian and one of King’s closest friends.

Harding will also speak during the screening of “Soundtrack for a Revolution and Dialogue,” on Jan. 26 in the Bank of America Auditorium in the Executive Conference Center.

The full calendar of events is available at www.morehouse.edu/kingcollection/celebration.php.

While the remembrance is a celebration, it’s an important opportunity to remember what King did and stood for, Crawford said.

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