Michael Eric Dyson Featured Speaker for 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Events

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson
Dr. Michael Eric Dyson

The Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will host A Conversation with Michael Eric Dyson for its annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lecture Thursday, Jan. 28.

Dyson, one of America’s premier public intellectuals and author of more than 20 books including seven New York Times bestsellers, will speak at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session. Registration is required for this event.

Dyson will address the key themes of his most recent book “Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America.” The themes include the cultural and social aspects that have shaped the United States in regard to race, the genealogy of anti-blackness, and where America gained its will to confront the ugly truth of systemic racism.

Dyson was recently named Distinguished University Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies, College of Arts & Science, and Distinguished University Professor of Ethics and Society, The Divinity School, and Centennial Professor at Vanderbilt University. A contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and political analyst for MSNBC, Dyson is recipient of two NAACP Image Awards and the 2020 Langston Hughes Festival Medallion.

In addition to the annual lecture, other events celebrating the life and legacy of King are scheduled.

On Campus

Why was MLK in Memphis? Social Justice in Employment

Monday, Jan. 18
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. via Zoom
Register here.
The Culverhouse College of Business will host a panel discussion on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ill-fated trip to Memphis as an instance of pursuing social justice in an employment context and explore some contemporary employment-related issues where a social justice perspective can be applied.


  • Dr. Maura Mills, associate professor of managementKing in the Wilderness movie poster
  • Dr. Sam Addy, senior research economist, associate dean for Economic Development Outreach
  • Dr. James E. King Jr., associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, Miles-Rose Professor of Leadership

Virtual Watch Party: “King in the Wilderness”

Monday, Jan. 18
2 p.m. on BFSA Facebook Live: UABFSA

The UA Black Faculty and Staff Association in partnership with the Kunhardt Film Foundation will host a virtual watch party of “King in the Wilderness” (HBO/Kunhardt, 2018). The documentary chronicles the final chapters of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, revealing a conflicted leader who faced an onslaught of criticism from both sides of the political spectrum.

MLK Day of Service 2021MLK Day of Service: A Day On, Not a Day Off

Monday, Jan. 18
8 a.m. until noon
Virtual event

This year’s MLK Day of Service will be held virtually with local nonprofit and national organizations. The event is co-sponsored by the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Center for Service and Leadership, Division of Student Life. View opportunities at givepul.se/xwgv6u.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Passive Program

Tuesday, Jan. 19
noon to 2 p.m.
Intercultural Diversity Center (Ferguson 2100)

The Intercultural Diversity Center will host a PowerPoint featuring important facts and historical events surrounding the achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Conversation about King: Roundtable Discussion of Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

Thursday, Jan. 21
6 p.m. via Zoom

UA Law is sponsoring “Conversation about King” and all students, staff and faculty are invited to participate. This discussion will serve as an open forum to reflect on Dr. King’s message in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and its relevance in today’s society. The event is hosted by UA Law’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Zoom information will be circulated a day before the event, and posted on the Law School’s calendar.

UA Libraries Movie Night at Gorgas

Movie Night at Gorgas Library

Celebrating the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thursday, Feb. 4
7-9 p.m., Camellia Room

UA Libraries will show “King: A Filmed Record, Part 1” (2012), a documentary that follows King from 1955 to 1968 in his rise from regional activist to world-renowned leader of the Civil Rights movement. Rare footage of King’s speeches, protests and arrests are interspersed with scenes of other high-profile supporters and opponents of the cause.

A discussion of the film, led by Dr. Lorraine Madway, associate dean for Special Collections with University Libraries, will be held afterwards.

Seating is limited and reservations and masks are required. To register, visit https://ua.libcal.com/calendar/movienights/.

More information is available on the UA Libraries website.

Off Campus

Saturday, Jan. 16

Stillman College will host its 4th annual MLK Legacy Art Walk at 1 p.m. Four artists will showcase how current issues affecting the Black community have had an impact on their art. Featured artists are Steve R. Allen, Synthia Saint James, Frank Frazier and Frank Kelley, Jr.

The event, hosted by Khadijah Torbert, will be live on Stillman’s social media platforms: Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Sunday, Jan. 17

A virtual film screening of “We Cried Power,” a documentary by Dara Kell, will be shown at 4 p.m. “We Cried Power” is told through the life and work of Rev. William J. Barber, a preacher and civil rights leader, and the members of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Registration is required to attend the online event, which is hosted by the ALPPC-Tuscaloosa Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. For more information, email alabama@poorpeoplescampaign.org.

Monday, Jan. 18

The Tuscaloosa Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference will host a virtual celebration for the King holiday. Events for the day include:

  • Virtual breakfast at 7:45 a.m. Speaker: Rev. David Gay, Jr. Watch Facebook Live on Beulah Baptist or 92.9 WTUG.
  • Drive-by parade at noon, from Martin Luther King Elementary School to Tuscaloosa City Hall. Participants can line up at Beulah Baptist Church and Martin Luther King School parking lots. Participants are asked to place signs celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on their vehicles.
  • Mass rally at 6 p.m. Speaker: Dr. Clarence Sutton, Jr. Watch Facebook Live on Christian Community Church or 92.9 WTUG.

The National Civil Rights Museum will present King Day: A Virtual Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday on Jan. 18 via livestream at noon and 6 p.m. CST. The event will feature King’s work, the history of the national holiday and pervious museum celebrations of the holiday. Registration is required for the livestream events.

10 Ways to Virtually Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. This Holiday Weekend, AdAge, Jan. 15, 2021