Dyson speech highlights UF celebration of King’s birthday
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Michael Eric Dyson, a nationally known author, activist, historian and cultural critic, will be the keynote speaker Jan. 29 as part of the 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at the University of Florida.
UF will mark the birthday of the slain civil rights leader in a series of activities Jan. 21-30.
Dyson’s speech, sponsored in part by UF’s Black Graduate Student Organization and ACCENT Speakers Bureau, is titled, “An Evening with Michael Eric Dyson” and will be held at 8 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Reitz Student Union.
Dyson was named one of the country’s 100 most influential African-Americans by Ebony Magazine and has authored 16 books, two of which were written about King and the impact of his values on society.
Dyson earned his doctorate from Princeton University and is a professor of sociology at Georgetown University and the host of a radio show that first aired in 2009. In addition, Dyson has made regular appearances on “Real Time with Bill Maher” and has been a political analyst for MSNBC.
“The Black Graduate Student Organization is so excited to bring the Rev. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson to the University of Florida,” said Kimberly Trimble, MLK Chair for Black Graduate Student Organization. “We worked very hard to find a speaker that not only exudes the outstanding qualities of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. but a speaker that would provide a message that will resonate with students and the Gainesville community.”
Dyson’s speech is open to the public and will be followed by a question-and-answer session.
UF activities start Jan. 21 with students and staff volunteering in the local community and reflecting on their service and how it relates to King’s ideals and values. At 1 p.m., campus and community members can participate in the Annual MLK March from Bo Diddley Plaza to the Martin Luther King Jr. Multipurpose Center.
At 9 p.m. Jan. 22, there will be a performance of “Ain’t I A Woman,” a musical theater program celebrating the life and times of four African-American women: novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston; ex-slave and abolitionist Sojourner Truth; folk artist Clementine Hunter; and civil rights worker Fannie Lou Hamer. It will be held in the Rion Ballroom of the Reitz Student Union.
At 10 a.m. Jan. 23, students can learn more about the different faith communities on the UF campus through the Religious Involvement Opportunities Fair on the Reitz Student Union Colonnade.
At 7 p.m. Jan. 24 in Ustler Hall Atrium, the Women’s Student Association will host a presentation and discussion by UF faculty member Faye Harrison about Rosa Parks and women’s activism.
At 2 p.m. Jan. 25 in Ustler Hall Atrium, there will be a documentary viewing and a discussion on King’s legacy and the integration of UF. At 6 p.m. at the Reitz Union Amphitheatre, there will be a candlelight vigil in partnership with GatorNights. This vigil will begin with a re-enactment of the “I Have a Dream” speech and will also feature guest performances, video tributes, reflection and a social justice pledge.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 26, The Forum Project, an organization which provides creative opportunities for individuals to explore their world and communities, will be in the Smathers Library, Room 1A. Workshops will educate individuals on how they can relate King’s values to their lives.
At 7 p.m. Jan. 30, the Center for Leadership and Service will host a human rights art show in the Orange and Brew at the Reitz Student Union.
All events are free and open to the public. More information about all of the events can be found online through the UF Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration website at www.UFMLK.org