The Vanderbilt community observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a series of lectures, service activities and events Jan. 16-19. The 2015 commemoration was titled “Dismantling Segregation: Race, Poverty and Privilege.”
Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos, Vanderbilt First Lady Lydia Howarth and a large contingent of Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff participated in the Nashville Freedom March Jan. 19 from Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church to Tennessee State University’s Gentry Center. Afterward, participants were transported by bus to the Vanderbilt Student Life Center for a lunchtime symposium featuring Georgetown Law School professor Sheryll Cashin, a 1984 Vanderbilt graduate and member of the Board of Trust. Cashin’s talk explored how millennials in the #BlackLivesMatter and other 21st-century social justice movements are transcending racial divisions, transforming activism, and beginning to realize King’s vision of a “beloved community.”
Following an afternoon of teach-ins, the MLK series keynote event was held Monday evening in Langford Auditorium. Following performances by the student-led Vanderbilt Choir and Voices of Praise, civil rights leader Andrew Young, a former U.S. ambassador and chair of the Andrew J. Young Foundation, delivered the MLK keynote address.
The traditional candlelight vigil interfaith service closed out the day’s events.