The U.S. honors the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. each year on the third Monday of January, but festivities in Evansville already have kicked off and continue Saturday. Here’s how to celebrate the civil rights leader in the River City.
Second Saturday Stories: MLK Jr. Day of Service
10 a.m. Jan. 14
Evansville Regional Airport, 7801 Bussing Dr.
Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library and Evansville Regional Airport devote their January installment of Second Saturday Stories to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Guests at this family-friendly event will hear stories, learn about Dr. King, and write thank-you notes to community heroes.
University of Southern Indiana: MLK Day Memorial Celebration
11 a.m. Jan 16
University of Southern Indiana, 8600 University Blvd.
Sponsored by the USI Multicultural Center, USI’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Celebration includes a keynote speaker. This year’s speaker is Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker Keith Beauchamp, who founded Till Freedom Come Productions, which focuses on socially significant projects focused on teaching and entertaining. His passion is telling the story of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Black boy who in 1955 was abducted, tortured, and lynched by a group of white men while visiting relatives in Mississippi after being accused of accosting a white woman. Beauchamp’s work has been featured on television news programs and in major newspapers and publications, and in 2004, the U.S. Department of Justice cited Beauchamp’s documentary, “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till,” in its decision to reopen the case into Till’s murder. Tickets are $30 for the general public.
University of Evansville: MLK Day of Service
9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Jan. 16
University of Evansville, 1800 Lincoln Ave.
The University of Evansville is hosting a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Monday. Under the theme “Daring to Dream: The Radical Imagination of a Liberated Other America,” UE’s lineup of activities includes services, lectures, a luncheon, and a rally. All events are open to the public.
- 9 a.m. – Faith-Based Service, Neu Chapel: This service will be led by the Rev. J.C. Campbell, the senior pastor at Greater Hope Church and vice president and chief diversity officer at Oakland City University in Oakland City, Indiana.
- 10:30 a.m. – Rally, Meeks Family Fieldhouse: Celebrate the significance of the day with remarks from UE President Christopher Pietruszkiewicz and UE Chief Inclusion and Equity Officer Rob Shelby.
- 11:15 a.m. – Symbolic March, Meeks Family Fieldhouse: Embark on a march along streets near campus that ends at Ridgway University Center.
- noon – Luncheon and Keynote Speaker, Eykamp Hall: Lunch begins with student speakers, award presentations, and a performance by Boom Squad Inc. (link to: https://www.evansvilleliving.com/more-than-a-drum-line/) and continues with the William G. and Rose M. Mays Martin Luther King Lectureship featuring keynote speaker Dr. Chris Emdin, the Robert A. Naslund Endowed Chair in curriculum theory and professor of education at the University of Southern California. Emdin created the #HipHopEd social media movement and was named to The Root’s list of 100 most influential African Americans. Tickets are required for the luncheon. Advanced sales have ended online, but a select amount of tickets will be available to purchase at the door.
- 2 p.m. – Community Service Projects, Carson Center: Join one of four community service projects benefiting Community Action Program of Evansville, House of Bread and Peace, United Caring Shelter, and Youth First.
- 3:30 p.m. – Local Leaders Panel Discussion, Shanklin Theatre: Listen to a panel discussion about the role of Evansville changemakers moderated by the Rev. Campbell and including Fourth Ward Evansville City Commissioner Alex Burton; Young & Established Founder and Executive Director Courtney Johnson; U.S. Navy veteran and Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. board member Melissa Morehead-Moore; Evansville Area Black Nurses & Tri-State Advocates President and Founder Arlinda Payne; and Bedford Collab and Impact Evansville co-founder DeAndre Wilson.
- 4:30 p.m. – Lead Forward Lecture and Reception, Shanklin Theatre: Close out the day with a lecture by UE men’s head basketball coach David Ragland about “leading forward” with what was learned through the Day of Service. A reception will follow in Hyde Hall’s Toyota Lounge at 5:30 p.m.