MLK Celebration 2010

20th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebratory Events


Nikki Giovanni with Red Bike MLK Brochure Cover art

"Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart."---Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Evoking the civil rights movement means hearing voices raised in power and joined in singing "Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around." It means seeing men marching silently with signs affirming their humanity in a single, poignant message: "I am a man". It means feeling the resounding surge of hope as Dr. King proclaimed "I have a dream" and "let freedom ring". Activists have often relied on these artistic expressions—oratory, music, and visual art—to bring to light social ills. ̀This is the focus of the University of New Hampshire’s 20th annual celebration commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Filled with remembrance and celebration, this week-long series of events featuring internationally known author, poet, and activist, Nikki Giovanni, will not only focus on the use of art as a tool for understanding cultural struggles, but as an element of social activism through which the self can be transformed.

Schedule of Events

Social Justice Awards

The UNH Diversity Team, in partnership with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee, annually honors UNH community members who have demonstrated excellence and integrity with respect to advancing social justice issues within our community and beyond. Each year, one undergraduate student, one graduate student, one staff member, one faculty member, and one student organization is recognized.
Click Here for the list of the 2010 Award Recipients

Art Exhibit: I Am Here, Hear Me

Thu, 01/28/2010 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
MUB Strafford Room

Every man lives in two realms, the internal and the external. ---Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

King called it the “two realms” and Du Bois named it “two-ness”. The “it” of which they spoke, is a “sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others” and “measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt or pity.” This struggle with two-ness by men of color is the focus of this year’s University of New Hampshire’s MLK Art Exhibit, I Am Here, Hear Me.

Using art to define, represent, and assert their identity, a group of 30 young men from various racial and ethnic backgrounds will examine what it means to navigate a U.S. culture where pervasive negative images and cultural stereotyping challenge their ability to be seen as an individuals.

The aim of the exhibit is to address the complexities of personal identity, give visibility and voice to a group of men too long defined by others, and to explore the potential of the shared story as a tool of empowerment and act of cultural resistance to imposed invisibility.

The exhibition, the result of a semester long facilitated discussion and collaborative work, will feature art, video and spoken word performances. The young men participating in this project are from the Men2Be group at Raw Art Works in Lynn, MA; Young Organizers United of the American Friends Service Committee-NH in Manchester, NH; and MOSDEF the men of color group at the University of New Hampshire.


Photo of 2010 celebration

Spiritual Celebration: Art to Heart, the Struggle for Human Rights in Spirit, Song, Poetry and Art.

Sun, 01/31/2010 - 4:30pm - 6:00pm
St. George's Episcopal Church, Main Street, Durham

We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together. ---Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Keynote speaker will be artist, poet and activist, Marta Sanchez with special musical guests Julia B. Leonard featured soloist, and the M'Kaddesh Liturgical Dance Ministry from the Calvary Baptist Church of Haverhill, Massachusetts. Throughout history, music and art have been used as a powerful tools to engage the population in protest. Although at times Dr. King and other great leaders grew tired and weary of the struggle they did not give up. They adopted a resiliency that was demonstrated through the singing of songs such as "I ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around" and "Keep on walking, keep on talking, marching up the Freedom Land". For our 2010 inter-faith spiritual celebration, we will honor the civil rights movement and music as essential components of the continuing struggle for equality, justice, and human rights for all. Come and enjoy a wonderful afternoon of music, singing, poetry, movement, prayer and reflection. All are welcome.


Prof. David Rivard

The Artist’s Corner: A Conversation with author, poet, and activist, Nikki Giovanni

Thu, 02/04/2010 - 12:40pm - 2:30pm
Strafford Room, MUB

We want the world to know, and our children to know, that Shakespeare, Euripides and Aristophanes were not the only poets that came in the world. --Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Join us for an engaged and inspirational conversation as David Rivard, nationally known poet and Professor of English at UNH, facilitates a critical conversation with renowned poet and activist Nikki Giovanni. The dialogue will focus on Giovanni’s latest work, lessons for today’s activists, her experiences in the Black Arts Movement, and her continuing commitment to social change. This is your opportunity to find out what the artist knows, thinks, and cares about by submitting questions to join in the conversation.

David Rivard is an Associate Professor of English at UNH. His collections of poetry include Torque (1988), which won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, Wise Poison (1996), winner of the 1996 James Laughlin Award, Bewitched Playground (2000), and Sugartown (2005). He has also been a contributor to such publications as Ploughshares, The New England Review, and Poetry. His awards and honors include the Pushcart Prize, the Celia B. Wagner Award from the Poetry Society of America and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is also poetry editor for The Harvard Review.


Commemorative Address A Sweet Inspiration: King, Poetry and Movement

Thu, 02/04/2010 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm
PCAC Johnson Theatre

"His headstone said "Free at last, Free at last" - But death is a slave's freedom - We seek the freedom of free men - And the construction of a world - Where Martin Luther King could have lived - and preached non-violence.” ---Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni Keynote Speaker

Infused with poetic imagery and delivered with passion, Dr King’s speeches stand as monuments to great oratory. They not only brought attention to the struggle, but also moved a nation to action by appealing to our noblest sentiments. It is in honoring King’s ability to inspire that we culminate our events, Art as Struggle and Exultation, with words from renowned poet and activist, Nikki Giovanni.

A founding member of the Black Arts movement, Giovanni’s outspokenness and commitment to presenting the truth as she sees it, continue to bring the eyes of the world upon her. A strong voice during the Civil Rights movement, Giovanni’s focus remains on the individual, more specifically, on the power one has to make a difference in oneself, and thus, in the lives of others. With her unique ability to speak to the moment, Giovanni’s presentation will intertwine her reflections on the current culture wars and the larger political and social issues with readings from her work.

The event will also include a vocal performance by David Ripley, a UNH Professor of Music who will sing the song "Wounded Dove" which he wrote and dedicated to Dr. King and performed for Coretta Scott King during her visit to UNH in 1997.

The Dance Crew Phunk Phenomenon from Everett, Massachusetts will also perform. The group combines a unique multi-ethnic, multicultural, urban style of modern and traditional dance format.

We encourage all to join us for an evening of reflection that promises to engage our minds, excite our souls and move us to exultation. A Reception and Book Signing with Nikki Giovanni will take place at the conclusion of the program.


Books by Nikki Giovanni

MLK Reading List - poetry by Nikki Giovanni

Video of Nikki Giovanni speaking at Virginia Tech after the school shooting tragedy

MLK Events Sponsored By:

Black Student Union, Center for Humanities, Class of 1954 Academic Enrichment Fund, College of Liberal Arts, Community Church of Durham, Counseling Center, Department of Education, Department of English, Department of Music, Discovery Program, Diversity Support Coalition, Graduate School, Health Services, Memorial Union, Memorial Union Student Organization (MUSO), MOSAICO, Office of Affirmative Action & Equity, Office of Inclusive Excellence, Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA), Office of the President, Office of Provost, Peter T. Paul School of Business, President's Commission on the Status of People of Color, Race and Ethnic Studies, Residential Life, University Events and Programs, UNH Chaplain's Association, United Campus Ministry, Waysmeet Center, Women's Studies

 NOTE: If UNH is curtailed during any of the above listed dates/times, then the program/event listed during this period will also be cancelled.  Curtailment decisions (regarding closures and delayed openings) can be found by calling TEL # 862-0000 or by viewing the storm information web page

FOR QUESTIONS OR FURTHER INFORMATION ON ALL EVENTS  TEL # 603-862-1058 or Contact Email: Sylvia Foster or  Email: Janice Pierson

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For more information: EEO/ADA Compliance Officer, 603.862.2930(voice) 603.862.1527
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