Event Recaps

On October 26, 1967, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to a large gathering at Saint Joseph's College's Memorial Fieldhouse. Fifty years later, during the academic year of 2017-2018, the University will host a series of programs to commemorate Dr. King's historic visit and explore the present-day relevance of the words and lessons he shared.

MLK 50th Anniversary Commemoration Events: Oct. 26, 2017

Community Reading of Dr. King's 1967 Speech
SJU President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., faculty, staff and students led a reading of Dr. King's 1967 remarks and a celebration of the 50th anniversary commemoration. Experience the reading through photos and a video recap of the event.

Featured Panel: Where Do We Go From Here? Fulfilling Dr. King's Call to Action
Expert panelists addressed the question of “where do we go from here,” focusing on the modern-day status and relevance of the concerns Dr. King raised in 1967 regarding how to attack poverty and injustice by providing equal access to good schools, housing and jobs. Panelists included:

  • Encarna Rodríguez, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Educational Leadership
  • Brent Smith, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Marketing
  • Corinne O'Connell '97, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia and winner of the University's 2015 Ignatius Award.

Film Screening and Discussion: Blaxploitalian
(In Italian and English with English subtitles)
Blaxploitalian (2016) by acclaimed director Fred Kuwornu explores Blackness in Italian cinema. The movie spans over 100 years of Italian film history (from silent and colonial-era movies up to the present day) to recount the little-known story of how actors of African descent contributed to Italian cinema. The movie shows the struggles and achievements of Afro-Italian, African-American and Afro-descendant actors of the past and present through extensive interviews and archival footage. The screening was be followed by a question-and-answer with faculty in the Modern Languages Department.

"The Clear Voice of Justice" Exhibition
Post Learning Commons (3rd floor), Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., Special Collections
This exhibition draws on correspondence, photographs and other items from the University Archives to encourage reflection on the meaning of Dr. King's visit to Saint Joseph's University and his principal message of continued resolve to end social injustice. The exhibition, which was made possible by the resources of the University Library, was open for the fall semester.

Principal Curator: Christopher Dixon
Co-Curators: Dr. Emily Hage and Dr. Randall Miller

MLK 50th Anniversary Commemoration Teach-In: Oct. 26, 2017

Three talented faculty opened their classes to the campus and local community to explore the themes of social justice through their disciplines. Join us for this very special opportunity!

Skewering Stereotypes: How Acts of “Serious Comedy” Have Advanced Our Understanding of Justice – and Each Other
C. Ken Weidner, II, Ph.D.,  Department of Management
In a multimedia presentation and discussion, Dr. Widner lead an examination of how artists in TV, film and other media have engaged in acts of “serious comedy” to constructively overcome racial and other stereotypes, advancing our understanding and appreciation of justice and of each other. Dr. King devoted his life to eradicating racism and ending discrimination. This discussion will covered variety of artists have used humor to efficiently and effectively speak truth to power, challenge stereotypes, and build upon King’s legacy in their own work, each in their own way.

Interpreting the Great Migration, Then and Now: Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series
Emily Hage, Ph.D.,  Department of Art
Jacob Lawrence's landmark Migration Series (1941) creatively chronicled African Americans’ mass move from the American South in the early 20th c. In this multimedia class, participants explored Lawrence’s unusual means of producing these innovative paintings, their appearance in Fortune magazine and the notable and controversial ways they’ve been exhibited.

The Role of Law in Social Change: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education
Susan Liebell, Ph.D.,  Department of Political Science
We assume that the Supreme Court’s decision in Plessy v. Ferguson upheld racial segregation and the unanimous decision in Brown v. Board brought it down. In this session, participants listened to a mini-lecture on how the NAACP launched a legal strategy to end racial segregation - to create “a Brown” - then discussed the success of the law in creating social change. The question was raised: what extent does such social change require the type of social movement led by Dr. King?

American Stories: A Peace of My Mind Exhibit and Presentation by John Noltner: Jan. 22-23, 2018

Photo Exhibit: Monday, Jan. 22, and Tuesday, Jan. 23
Campion Student Center, North Lounge

Photos & Interviews: Monday, Jan. 22, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Campion Student Center, Sunroom

Presentation by Photographer and Curator John Noltner: Tuesday, Jan. 23, 5 p.m., The Perch

Photographer John Noltner's riveting exhibit and presentation, A Peace of My Mind, chronicles his travels across the country. John has raised questions that challenge our beliefs, discover our commonalities and engage conversations about peace, justice and humanity.

The Real Record on Racial Attitudes: Feb. 14, 2017

Presentation by Dr. Camille Charles, University of Pennsylvania
4:00 p.m., Campion Student Center North Lounge

The Sr. Thea Bowman Distinguished Lecture Series presented Dr. Camille Charles, Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in Social Sciences and a leading scholar in American race relations. In the presentation, Dr. Charles mapped major divisions and trends in U.S. racial attitudes and discuss progress, friction and conflicts that continue to make race such fraught terrain. Sponsored by Adult Student Life, Office of Inclusion and Diversity and Office for Mission and Identity

From Safety to Redemption: The Catholic Call to Dismantle Racism: Feb. 15, 2018

A presentation by Sr. Patricia Chappell
7:00 p.m., Cardinal Foley Center

This discussion encouraged participants to open the prerequisites and requirements for building and gaining entrance into the Beloved Community. Sr. Chappell suggested ways to unlearn the myths of oppression and privilege in order to loosen the grip that racism has had on all of us.

Sponsored by the Joseph William and Madeline Eberle Klein Fund and the Faith-Justice Institute

Black Empowerment: Where Do We Go From Here? : Feb. 22, 2018

Diversity Lecture Series

Angela Rye, Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies
5:00 p.m., Banquet Hall North, Campion Student Center

Sponsored by Student Inclusion and Diversity

The Attica Prison Riot of 1971 and Why It Matters Today: Mar. 26, 2018

Dr. Heather Ann Thompson, University of Michigan

4:30 p.m., Cardinal Foley Center

Join us for the Francis X. Gerrity Lecture with Dr. Heather Ann Thompson, author of the Pulitzer Prize and Bancroft Prize winning book Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Riot of 1971 and Its Legacy. 

A Morning with John Lewis: Apr. 16, 2018

Civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)

10:00 a.m., Hagan Arena 

On Monday, April 16, congressman, activist and contemporary of Dr. King, Rep. Lewis delivered a speech to conclude the year-long commemoration of Dr. King's visit to campus in 1967. Experience the speech through photos and video of the event, or read the story.