IU Bloomington celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy with a week of activities

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A visit by three African American doctors whose story inspired an acclaimed documentary and three best-selling books will highlight a week of activities at Indiana University Bloomington celebrating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy.

Drs. Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins -- also known as "The Three Doctors" -- will appear Monday, Jan. 20, at the campus's Unity Summit, a leadership breakfast, and a book signing.

The theme for IU Bloomington's celebration is "Realizing King's Dream in the 'Fierce Urgency of Now.'" Other highlights will include the performance "Revolution: Emergent Theater," a national case competition, a civil rights immersion trip to Alabama, and several activities in campus cultural centers.

Classes are not held on the King holiday. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to use the day for community service. "A Day On, Not a Day Off," a massive volunteer effort, again will be organized in cooperation with a number of nonprofit agencies, IU, and the city of Bloomington. For example, 21st Century Scholars students will be involved in a community service project, "Cover Bloomington," based at the First United Church, 2420 E. Third St., from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday.

All IU Bloomington events celebrating King's life are free and open to the public, with the exception of the leadership breakfast, which is by invitation only.

The university will help celebrate the Bloomington community's recognition of King's life at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20. The event, featuring Freedom Rider Hank Thomas as keynote speaker and musical performances from the IU African American Choir Ensemble, will take place at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave., and is free and open to the public.

Thomas joined the 1961 Congress of Racial Equality Freedom Ride. He overcame an impoverished childhood in southern Georgia and St. Augustine, Fla., to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he was active in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee-affiliated Nonviolent Action Group.

Also on Monday, the IU School of Optometry -- in collaboration with the Salvation Army, Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity students, the city of Bloomington, the Bloomington Lions Clubs, and Anatolia Turkish Restaurant -- will provide eye exams and eye glasses to members of the Bloomington community who do not have access to vision care. Eligible patients are required to sign up with the Salvation Army before the holiday. The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Atwater Eye Care Center, 744 E. Third St. Call (812) 336-4310 for more information.

The Three Doctors

Davis, Hunt, and Jenkins collaborated on three books about their lives: the New York Times Best Seller "The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream," "We Beat the Streets" and "The Bond." "The Pact," a documentary about the three men, aired on public television in 2006 and continues to be presented by outreach organizations involved with keeping young people out of gangs and in school.

As teenagers growing up on the tough inner-city streets of Newark, N.J., they made a pact to stick together to go to college, graduate, and become doctors. Today, Davis is a board certified emergency medicine physician at St. Michael's Medical Center in Newark; Hunt is a board certified internist at University Medical Center at Princeton; and Jenkins is an assistant professor of clinical dentistry at Columbia University.

They will appear at the Unity Summit in Alumni Hall of the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St., which begins at 1:30 p.m. Monday. The annual event brings IU students together for a program that promotes civil dialogue and explores ways to improve the campus climate for all IU students.

The doctors will also appear at the annual Leadership Breakfast that brings the IU community together to focus on King's ideals, beginning at 8:30 a.m., also in Alumni Hall. Attendance is by invitation only.

In between the two events -- Davis, Hunt, and Jenkins will sign copies of their books in the East Lounge of the IMU from 11 a.m. to noon. Everyone is welcome.

Winners of IU's MLK Day essay contest and Building Bridges Award will be announced at the leadership breakfast and receive special recognition.

Other events:

  • On Friday and Saturday, Jan. 17 and 18, the Kelley School of Business will be the site for the Third Annual National Diversity Case Competition, sponsored by Target Corp. The event, organized by the school's Kelley Student Diversity Council, will involve 30 teams from many top business schools around the country, including the University of Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pennsylvania, Washington University in St. Louis, and fellow Big Ten schools Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Northwestern universities and the Universities of Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.
  • "Revolution: An Emergent Theater Project Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King," at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, in Whittenberger Auditorium of the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. The project includes students from both IU and Ivy Tech College in Bloomington.
  • "Latino Involvement in the Civil Rights Movement: Then and Now," at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at La Casa Latino Cultural Center, 715 E. Seventh St.
  • Asian Culture Center's Over a Cup of Tea presents: Saints or Revolutionaries: The Parallel Visions of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela," at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, at the ACC, 807 E. 10th St.
  • "Who Are Asian Pacific Americans?" luncheon discussion about activist Grace Lee Boggs at noon Friday, Jan. 31, at the Asian Culture Center.

The IU Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs and the MLK Jr. Day Celebration Planning Committee are coordinating many events. They are working closely with the IU Office of the Provost, IU Residential Programs and Services, the IU College of Arts and Sciences, the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, and the IU School of Optometry.

Complete information about all IU Bloomington events is available at a special Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration website.