Members of the community are invited to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Bridgewater College during its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, “Celebrating the Dream, Continuing the Journey,” in partnership with the town of Bridgewater.
The celebration will begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 16, at Oakdale Park in Bridgewater. The event kicks off with remarks from Bridgewater College President David Bushman, Co-Chair of BC’s Black Student Alliance and Student Support Foundation President Amere Langley ’23 and Bridgewater Town Councilman Jim Tongue. A march of event attendees from the park to Bridgewater College’s campus will follow. A shuttle will be available for those who would like to participate in the march but are unable to walk the entire route because of limited mobility. Those wishing to use the shuttle service should meet at the Kline Campus Center lot on Bridgewater College’s campus by 10:30 a.m. At the conclusion of the march, guests are invited to enjoy a reception and exhibition in the Kline Campus Center lobby.
“The Town of Bridgewater is pleased and honored to partner once again with Bridgewater College in observance of the annual holiday in memory and celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King was a great American who significantly altered the arc of history during his lifetime and who continues to impact our lives positively to this day,” said Mayor of the Town of Bridgewater Ted Flory.
Also part of Bridgewater College’s observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an endowed lecture on Wednesday, Jan. 18, sponsored by the Harry W. and Ina Mason Shank Peace Studies Endowment, the Kline-Bowman Institute for Peace and Justice, the Weimer Christian Vocation of Peace and Peacemaking Lectureship Fund and the Christian Leadership Endowment Fund. American Protestant minister and social activist the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II will deliver the keynote address, “We are Called to be a Movement.” The event will be a traditional lecture format beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Cole Hall; Q&A will follow. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the event will also be livestreamed at bridgewater.edu/barber.
“Dr. King wrote, spoke, marched and stood up for what he believed in. At Bridgewater College, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy to educate ourselves about his work. These celebrations are a reminder that we need to continue to do social justice work in real and tangible ways in order to achieve Dr. King’s dream. Our events will provide space for these much-needed conversations,” said Dr. Gauri Pitale, Associate Dean of Students for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Bridgewater College.
In the lead up to the march, Bridgewater College will show BlacKkKlansman at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12 in the Boitnott Room located in Rebecca Hall. And in continued celebration of Dr. King’s legacy, faculty will lead three teach-ins on campus in the weeks to follow. The teach-in sessions, which will all be held at 7 p.m. in Room 217 in the John Kenny Forrer Learning Commons with livestreaming available at bridgewater.edu/mlk on their respective dates, are as follows:
- “All Labor Has Dignity” with Assistant Professor of English Dr. Sam Hamilton on Thursday, Jan. 26. In addition to his commitment to ending racial segregation, Dr. King was similarly committed to the cause of economic justice. Just as the moral lessons from his civil rights advocacy can and should inform our present-day struggles with racial justice, so too should King’s lifelong support for workers’ rights inform our present-day struggles with economic justice.
- “Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela: Leaders for Non-Racial Democracy” with Associate Provost and W. Harold Row Professor of International Studies Dr. Jamie Frueh on Thursday, Feb. 2. Frueh will lead a discussion comparing two of the most respected leaders of the 20th century.
- “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: On Civil Disobedience, America’s Christian Heritage and the Art of Rhetoric” with Assistant Professor of English Dr. Vanessa Rouillon on Thursday, Feb. 9. Dr. King led a series of marches, sit-ins, boycotts and other demonstrations against African American segregation in early April of 1963. Choosing to disobey a city prohibition against such protests, King was arrested on April 12, 1963. During his nine-day incarceration, he wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Along with reading passages from primary texts, Rouillon will discuss Dr. King’s rhetorical eloquence, his attention to ethos, audience and kairos, the dignity of his mugshot and jail photos in advancing the cause, and his moral and religious reasonings.
All of the events are free and open to the public.