UPDATED MONDAY, JAN. 15: Due to inclement weather, Middle Tennessee State University has canceled the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and Candlelight Vigil that was scheduled for today, Jan. 15, at the Student Union.
Posted previously: While Middle Tennessee State University will be officially closed Monday, Jan. 15, in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the university again invites the campus and wider community to gather that evening for its traditional event honoring the slain civil rights leader and his widow, the late Coretta Scott King.
Hosted by the Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs and free and open to the public, this year’s MLK Celebration and Candlelight Vigil will be held beginning at 6 p.m. Monday in the second floor ballroom of the Student Union Building, 1768 MTSU Blvd. Parking is available just north of the building off Blue Raider Drive. A campus parking map is available at https://bit.ly/MTSUParking.
The university will be closed that day, and no classes will be held, in observance of the federal holiday, and organizers are aware of the forecast for inclement weather and the possibility that this year’s MLK event may need to be canceled.
“Dr. King and his wife’s legacy continues to inspire generation after generation with a recognition that much work remains to make their dream for equality and justice a reality to everyone in our nation,” said Danielle Rochelle, director of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs. “This year’s vigil will feature the reflections of some of our student leaders representing the fraternity and sorority communities that played such a formative role in the Kings’ lives.”
After Rochelle welcomes attendees, Student Government Association President Michai Mosby will lead a recitation of the True Blue Pledge followed by remarks from students Khani Holliday and Richmond Antwi, president and vice president of the Kappa Xi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and Makayla Forman, president of the Eta Psi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
Tribute videos of King and Mrs. King will also be shown, followed by the candlelight vigil with LED candles and a closing prayer led by Dakota Logan of The Point Campus Ministry.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was inspired both by his Christian faith and by civil disobedience tactics employed by Indian leader Mohandas K. Gandhi, led marches and demonstrations that promoted the end of legally enforced racial segregation in public accommodations. His work and that of his followers prompted Congress to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
After speaking to sanitation workers who were striking for better wages and working conditions in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, King was assassinated as he stood on the balcony of the city’s Lorraine Motel.
On Nov. 21, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the law creating Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a national celebration of King’s birthday. King was born Jan. 15, 1929, and the first observance of the holiday was on Jan. 20, 1986. The holiday is celebrated each third Monday in January.
For more information, call 615-898-5812 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
University closings over weekend
In addition to Monday’s universitywide closing, the Student Union will be closed Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 13-14, and only open from 6-7:30 p.m. Monday for the vigil.
The James E. Walker Library is closed Saturday-Monday, Jan. 13-15, while the Campus Recreation Center will be open noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and closed Monday.
For Aramark dining location hours, visit https://mtsu.campusdish.com.
MTSU’s spring semester begins Tuesday, Jan. 16.
— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)