The University Record, December 10, 1997

Author Cornel West will deliver Martin Luther King Day keynote

By Bernie DeGroat
News and Information Services



The University's 1998 Martin Luther King Day celebration next month will feature a keynote address by Cornel West, author of the best-selling book Race Matters, and lectures by John Trudell, former national chairman of the American Indian Movement, and Do lores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union.

"Why We Can't Wait," the theme of this year's MLK Symposium, also will include a campuswide panel discussion on affirmative action, a concert by the Boys Choir of Harlem, community service activities, a unity march, and storytelling sessions on the Montg omery bus boycott and Nashville lunch counter sit-ins.

In addition, about 75 unit-sponsored events, including talks by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Clarence Page and Harvard sociologist Lawrence Bobo, will be held throughout January to commemorate the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

The MLK Memorial Lecture will be delivered by West at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 19 at Hill Auditorium. West, professor of Afro-American studies at Harvard, has been described as the "preeminent African American intellectual of our time."

His current academic interests include the problems facing the African American urban underclass, the development of an ongoing dialogue between Blacks and Jews, and the creation of a nationwide parents movement that responds to the needs of mothers and fathers. Trudell, who came to prominence as a long-time activist for Native American rights and as the spokesperson for the Indians of All Tribes Occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969, will give his talk at 6 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Michigan League's Mendelssohn Thea ter.

Huerta, who helped Cesar Chavez found the United Farm Workers of America and who now serves as its secretary-treasurer, will speak at 6 p.m. Jan. 21 at Mendelssohn.

While several events will be held during the week of Jan. 12, the traditional MLK Symposium kick-off concert with the Boys Choir of Harlem will take place at 7 p.m. Jan. 18 at Hill Auditorium. Tickets are $12-$22 and are available at the University Musi cal Society box office in the Burton Tower or by calling 764-2538.

The Black Student Union's annual MLK Unity March will begin at noon Jan. 19 at the corner of South University Avenue and Forest Street. For information, call 647-1067.

During the afternoon, a panel discussion on affirmative action, including Provost Nancy Cantor and General Counsel Elizabeth Barry, will take place 1-5 p.m. at the Rackham Building Auditorium.

Also that afternoon, 1-6 p.m., hundreds of students, faculty and staff will take part in the community service project "Acting on the Dream" at dozens of local and Detroit-area community-based agencies, such as homeless shelters and youth centers. Those interested in participating should call Project SERVE, 936-2437.

Finally, the MLK Symposium will feature a pair of two-hour storytelling sessions for children ages 10 and older. The first session, 1 p.m. Jan. 17 and repeated at 1 p.m. Jan. 19, tells the story of the Nashville student lunch counter sit-ins.

The other session, 3:30 p.m. Jan. 17 and repeated at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 19, tells the story of the Montgomery bus boycott. Seating is limited to 50 persons. To reserve a place for either session, call Adrea Korthase or Terrell Cole at the Office of Academi c Multicultural Initiatives, 936-1055.

For more information on MLK Symposium events, call Tara Young, 936-1055, or send e-mail to or access the MLK98 Webpage.