The University Record, October 10, 1994

Hooks to keynote Martin Luther King Symposium

By Bernie DeGroat
News and Information Services

Plans for the University’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Symposium in January 1995 are in full swing. The symposium features MLK Memorial Lecturer Benjamin L. Hooks, former executive director of the NAACP.

Hooks, who served as head of the world’s largest and oldest civil rights organization in 1977–93, will deliver the MLK Memorial Lecture at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 16 at Hill Auditorium.

“The name Benjamin Hooks resonates throughout the world as a hero of equal rights and social justice,” says Lester P. Monts, vice provost for academic and multicultural affairs. “As a tireless and devoted warrior, he is the ideal spokesperson to bridge the gap between the achievements of the 1960s and the issues surrounding race, ethnicity and the role of the NAACP in the mid-1990s.”

Hooks, who also is a pastor, lawyer, professor and businessman, was the first African-American judge in the South since Reconstruction and the first African American to serve on the Federal Communications Commission.

In addition to the MLK Memorial Lecture, the Symposium will include a concert by the Harlem Spiritual Ensemble at 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at Hill Auditorium, and a multi-media tribute to King by the Grammy-winning Sounds of Blackness, a 40-member musical group, at 7 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Power Center for the Performing Arts.

Other highlights include a series of panel discussions, the Black Student Union’s annual Unity March and a host of events— ranging from performances and films to workshops and discussions

—sponsored by campus units and organizations.

The MLK Symposium Planning Committee, composed of students, faculty and staff from across campus, is encouraging sponsoring units to schedule events Jan. 13-31.

Monts says the events are designed to “keep alive the essence of Dr. King’s dream for social justice and racial equality.”

“On a campus as decentralized as ours, the MLK Day observance provides the opportunity for us to cross the many disciplinary and unit boundaries and come together as a community dedicated to the principles and ideals exemplified in the life work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” he says. “It is my hope that the collective influence of these events and the spirit of cooperation they engender will move the University farther along the path toward becoming a truly multicultural community.”

The symposium theme, “Conflict and Communities: The Struggle for Racial Justice,” reflects a critical component of King’s quest for racial, economic and social justice, says symposium coordinator Michael P. Jones-Coleman.

“Without conflict and an understanding of its roots, social change cannot be accomplished,” he says. “It is important that we recognize the differences and conflicts that exist between and within our communities, and acknowledge that it is by seeking out their sources—not by ignoring, negating or dismissing them—that we will achieve King’s dream of a ‘beloved community,’ a truly multicultural society.”

The MLK Memorial Lecture, panel discussions, Unity March and Harlem Spiritual Ensemble concert are free.

Complimentary tickets for the Harlem Spiritual Ensemble are required and are now available at the University Musical Society by calling 764-2538.

Tickets for the Sounds of Blackness will be available Nov. 1 at the Michigan Union Ticket Office and other TicketMaster outlets. Most other events sponsored by individual units on campus also are open to the public.

For inclusion in the official 1995 MLK Symposium Program guide, events must be registered by Nov. 1. To register an event or program, or for more information, contact Jones-Coleman, 936-1055.