Juan Guzman
UNK Office of Multicultural Affairs director, 308.865.8127

“The Life and Times of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” will highlight the life and work of the civil rights activist on Thursday, Jan. 12, at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

The event, which is one of two being held on the campus in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, will begin at 6 p.m. in the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room. The second event will be a  7 p.m. candlelight vigil on Monday, Jan. 16, at the Peterson-Yanney Memorial Carillon. Both are free and open to the public.

Dr. Claude Louishomme, UNK associate professor of political science, will lead both events. On Thursday, Dr. Louishomme will give a presentation on King’s life and work, as well as the events and movements taking place in the Unites States at that time. The presentation is sponsored by the UNK Office of Multicultural Affairs, Division of Student Affairs and Black Students Association.

The candlelight vigil on Monday evening, a traditional event on the UNK campus, is being sponsored by the Black Students Association. Dr. Louishomme will give the welcome, and two students, Shandeana Pratt and Moses Moxey, will read portions of speeches by Dr. King. Pratt and Moxey are vice president and president, respectively, of the Black Students Association. Both are also from Freeport Grand Bahama. Pratt is a biology major; Moxey, a business major.

At the close of ceremonies at the carillon, the group will conduct a candlelight walk to the Nebraskan Student Union.

Also in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the UNK campus will be closed on Monday, Jan. 16. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a federal holiday in 1986.

King, a Baptist minister who sought to end racial segregation and discrimination through nonviolence, first made his mark when he led the 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., and later he helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. His efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

In 1964, he became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Four years later, he was assassinated when in Memphis, Tenn., to lead a protest march for striking garbage workers. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.