Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Event

The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration at Cornell aspires to be a cross-campus and community partnership that makes accessible the life and legacy of  Dr. King for contemporary times.  The King commemoration seeks to bring together Cornellians, Ithaca College and Ithaca community colleagues to plan and participate in this event.  The Commemoration seeks to bridge the gap between memory and history: the memory of an earlier generation that participated in or lived during the black freedom struggle of the 1950s and 1960s; and the history of a faraway time for persons born after this period. 

Speakers for the King Commemoration have included those who worked directly with or knew Dr. King and scholars, activists, journalists and religious leaders whose work is informed by and a continuation of his legacy.  These speakers have highlighted the continuity between past and present, providing critical examination of King's legacy and contemporary issues.  the issues with which Dr. King grappled — racism, poverty and income inequality, war, militarism, imperialism, governmental abuses of power, barriers to community based on ethnicity, religion, creed — remain with us today.  These very issues currently constitute a greater threat to American democracy than at any time since his assassination in 1968.  The manner in which these issues are addressed will determine our collective future as a society.

A cross-campus/community partnership to commemorate Dr. King, a composite of the "Beloved Community" central to his thought and action, can be a local example of collaboration across real and perceived stratification to promote moral values and social justice.