Lowery address to commence Martin Luther King Jr. Week celebration

Just days before delivering the benediction at Barack Obama's presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., the Rev. Joseph Lowery will kick off the University's weeklong Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, titled "Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy," on Thursday, Jan. 15 with a speech at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.

"With the inauguration of our first African American president just days away, this year's Martin Luther King celebration is particularly noteworthy," said Rosa Yadira Ortiz, Assistant Director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. "Making it even more noteworthy is the thrill of having Reverend Lowery celebrating with us."

Along with King, Lowery co-founded the Southern Leadership Christian Conference in 1957, and he has been a leader in the American civil rights movement for decades. In the 1950s, Lowery helped lead the Montgomery bus boycott after Rosa Parks' arrest, in addition to heading the Alabama Civic Affairs Association, which was focused on desegregating buses and other public places in Alabama. Lowery's important relationship with King led him to speak at the funeral of his wife, Coretta Scott King, in 2006.

"Reverend Lowery's lifelong involvement in the civil rights movement, and specifically his work directly with Martin Luther King Jr., make him a true veteran of the moment and a dream guest speaker for us," Ortiz said. "We have come so far-the Obama's election to president is clear evidence of that-but I think part of what Lowery will address is the fact that progress must continue. We still have a ways to go."

Lowery has recently been called the "consummate voice of biblical social relevancy, a focused prophetic voice, speaking truth to power" and the "dean of the civil rights movement" by Ebony magazine and the NAACP. His speech will be held at noon Thursday, Jan. 15 in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, located at 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave. It is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to attend a reception following the service, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St.

The University's Martin Luther King Jr. Week will continue through Thursday, Jan. 22, with a plethora of events across campus.

From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16, guests are invited to a tour of the "Integrating the Life of the Mind: African Americans at the University of Chicago" exhibit in the Special Collections Research Center in the Joseph L. Regenstein Library, located at 1100 E. 57th St. The exhibit is on display through February 27, 2009.

"Putting a spotlight on this incredible collection that showcases the history of African Americans at the University of Chicago is ideal timing with our Martin Luther King celebration," Ortiz said.

Also on Friday, "Roots & Rhymes V" will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Ida Noyes Hall, complete with refreshments, live music, and dance and spoken word expressionist performances. Campus performers and past artists included The Balle Bhangra Team, Soul Umoja, Gingarte Capoeira and Rhythmic Bodies in Motion.

On Saturday, Jan. 17, a MLK Day of Service will be held in collaboration with the University of Chicago Community Service Center in several areas around the community. Anyone interested in volunteering should visit http://ucsc.uchicago.edu.

Sunday worship will be held at 11 a.m. at Rockefeller Chapel, with the Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, Dean of Students in the Divinity School, as guest preacher.

From 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 20, Mandel Hall at 1131 E. 57th St. will welcome the University community to view Obama's historic inauguration. The event will include a discussion featuring Robert Gooding-Williams, Professor in Political Science at the University, and Charles Branham, Senior Historian at the DuSable Museum of African American History.

From noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 21, a film screening of Still Black: A Portrait of Black Transmen will be held at the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, 5710 S. Woodlawn Ave. The feature-length documentary depicts the lives of six African American transgendered men who are artists, students, husbands, fathers, lawyers and teachers. Filmmaker Kortney Ryan Ziegler will speak following the film and lead a question-and-answer session.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 21, Rockefeller Chapel will host a performance by writer-actor Michael Fosberg, who will perform "Incognito," a one-man play telling his story of looking for his African American biological father.

From 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 22, there will be a presentation of public school funding, with guests Catalyst Chicago and the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. Charles Payne, the Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor in the School of Social Service Administration, will moderate the discussion, which will take place on the third floor of Swift Hall at 1025 E. 58th St.

All Martin Luther King Jr. Week 2009 events are free and open to the public. A section of seats will be reserved for media during Lowery's speech. Additional information is available at http://mlk.uchicago.edu.



Rev. Joseph Lowery's keynote address at noon Thursday, Jan. 15 in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel will commence the University's weeklong Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. Lowery is a longtime civil rights leader and worked with King in the 1950s in Alabama.

Media Contact

Mary Abowd
Campus and Student Life News Officer
News Office, University Communications
(773) 702-8383

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