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MLK Day Observance 2021

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MLK Day Observance

Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston
Norfolk State University President

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born January 15, 1929 and died on April 4, 1968 at the age of 39, by assassination. Most remembered for the 13 years that he led the modern American Civil Rights movement from December 1955 until 1968, Dr. King was a Baptist preacher, awarded the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and author of five books and numerous articles. He was a husband to Coretta Scott King, and father to four children—Martin III, Yolanda, Dexter, and Bernice. He was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 and over an eleven-year period, traveled over six million miles, speaking over 2500 times against injustice, disenfranchisement, segregation, and economic disparities.

An advocate for peace, respect, resolution and equity not only in America, but globally, Dr. King was a graduate of an HBCU, Morehouse College in Atlanta. Named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963, Dr. King became a symbolic leader of hope and opportunity for African Americans and the world. Norfolk State University pauses each year during the national King Holiday to remember and honor his legacy and continue his work advocating for the educational, economic, civic, social and political justice for all.

Fun Facts about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.1

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born Michael King Jr on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. At the age of 5, Dr. King’s father changed their names from Michael King to Martin Luther King, after the Protestant Reformation leader, Martin Luther.2

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. skipped grades in high school and entered Morehouse College in 1944 at the age of 15. He graduated as an ordained minister with a degree in sociology.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. earned his Ph.D. in 1955 from Boston University. The title of his dissertation was, “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s first visit to Norfolk, VA was in the summer of 1961 at the City Arena, where he delivered a speech on behalf of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).3

In June 1963, Dr. King spoke at a rally sponsored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at Union Hall on East Washington Street in Suffolk, VA.4

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. attended the installation services of Dr. Milton A. Reid at New Calvary Baptist Church on October 29, 1966. Afterward he held a press conference where he was interviewed by Norfolk State College students.5

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested and went to jail approximately 29 times for acts of civil disobedience and often on ‘trumped-up’ charges. While incarcerated in jail, he penned his, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last public speech in Memphis, 1968, foretold his death. King was there to support the city’s Black garbage workers’ strike where he stated he would like to live a long life, but acknowledged that may not happen.

The first official celebration of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday was in January 1986. The King holiday is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to his birthday, January 15th. Dr. King lived 39 years and in 2021, the impact of his life lives on globally.

Remembering MLK 2021

NSU MLK 2021 Tribute

NSU MLK Virtual Celebration (Friday, Jan. 15, 2021)

10 A.M.

Dr. Khadijah Miller – Interim Dean
NSU Robert C. Nusbaum Honors College

11 A.M.

Rev. James Dance – Chaplain
NSU Alumni Association, Inc.

Noon MLK Quote:

“We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”

1 P.M.

Ajeya Dixon – NSU Student
Robert C. Nusbaum Honors College

2 P.M.

Philip Sherrill – Director of
Leadership & Major Giving at NSU

3 P.M. MLK Quote:

“Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on. It is not man.”

4 P.M.

Dr. Ernestine Duncan
NSU Professor of Psychology

5 P.M.

Myles Perry – NSU Student
Robert C. Nusbaum Honors College

6 P.M. MLK Quote:

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

7 P.M.

Dr. Derrick Lanois
NSU Associate Professor of History

8 P.M.

Yanni Ervin – NSU Student
Robert C. Nusbaum Honors College

9 P.M.

Travis Ames
President of the NSU Foundation, inc.

10 P.M. MLK Quote:

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

NSU MLK Virtual Celebration (Monday, Jan. 18, 2021)


Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston
Norfolk State University President


Symone Thomas
NSU Army ROTC, Polical Science Major

Noon MLK Quote:

“Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another.”

1 P.M.

Greg Gardner - Coordinator, NSU Div. of Music
Dept. of Visual and Performing Arts

2 P.M.

Dr. DoVeanna Fulton – Provost and
Vice President for Academic Affairs

3 P.M. MLK Quote:

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

5 P.M.

Alisia Smith-Rucker '94'
Recording Secetary, NSU Alumni Association, Inc.

6 P.M. MLK Quote:

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

7 P.M.

Clifford Porter, Jr., J.D.
Vice President for University Advancement


8 P.M. MLK Quote:

“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”

9 P.M.

Dr. Colita Fairfax
NSU Professor of Social Work

10 P.M.

Trinity Gray – Student Athlete
NSU Women's Bowling Team