January 7, 1999

Middlebury College Celebrates the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last." - Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have A Dream" (1963)

Middlebury College will join the rest of the nation this month to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a series of events and activities that will evoke the enduring spirit of the great civil rights leader. College events are free and open for all to attend.

Inspired by Dr. King's dream for a better nation, Middlebury College students will take part in the Martin Luther King Day of Service by organizing volunteer service projects in the community on Saturday morning, Jan. 17. Although the King Day of Service, signed into law by President Clinton in 1994, is nationally observed on Monday, Jan. 19, Middlebury student leaders hope that choosing Saturday for the day of activities will allow more people to participate in the service projects for local not-for-profit organizations. A variety of activities, from storm damage clean-up to serving meals, painting, and folding clothes are planned for the Addison County Community Action Group, Addison County Humane Society Shelter, Project Independence Elderly Services, Porter Medical Center's Round Robin Thrift Shop, and St. Mary's Outreach Ministry. Anyone interested in joining the students on a project or scheduling an additional project may contact student organizer Randy Cofield at 443-3581.

On Sunday, Jan. 18 at 11:00 a.m., there will be a special service at Mead Chapel, featuring the PALANA Kids, a group of elementary and junior high school students of multi-racial families in the greater Middlebury area who interact throughout the year with Middlebury College's PALANA (Pan African-Latino-Asian-Native American) Center. During the service, the PALANA kids will offer songs and readings to commemorate Dr. King's life.

At 7:30 p.m., Montgomery to Memphis, a 1970 release by the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation, will be shown in Room 110 of the Sunderland Langauge Center on College Street. Produced by Ely Landau, whose work on the film earned an Academy Award nomination in 1970, Montgomery to Memphis is considered to be the definitive film documentary of Dr. King's contribution to the Civil Rights movement. Narrated by Sidney Poitier, the film sequences were supervised by directors Joseph L. Mankiewicz and Sidney Lumet.

On Monday, Jan. 19, there will be the annual noon march to the Middlebury village green. For the eighth consecutive year, members of the community and College will gather at Mead Chapel at 11:15 a.m. to march through town to the village green, while the Mead Chapel carillon rings out in honor of Dr. King. Immediately following the march, a program of music, readings and remarks by students from Mary Hogan Elementary, the Gailer School, Middlebury Union High School, Middlebury College, and other members of the Middlebury community, will take place in St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, located on the Green. Refreshments will be served.

At 4:00 p.m., in the Coltrane Lounge of Adirondack House on College St., guest lecturer Dr. Jamie Washington will give a talk about Dr. King's life and work. A nationally known speaker, Dr. Washington is assistant to the vice president for student affairs at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and the founder of New Visions, a multicultural organizational development firm in Maryland.

For more information, contact Leroy Nesbitt, special assistant to the president, at 802-443-3166.

Summary Schedule of Events:

Jan. 18 Chapel Service, 11:00 a.m., Mead Memorial Chapel. Featuring songs and readings by the The PALANA Kids.

Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy. --Martin Luther King, Jr., "The Measures of Man" (1959)

Jan. 18 Montgomery to Memphis, 7:30 p.m., Sunderland Language Center, Room 110, on College St. A documentary film of Dr. King's life.

Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority. --Martin Luther King, Jr., "Strength to Love" (1963)

Jan. 19 Noon March to the Village Green, 11:15 a.m., Mead Chapel. Participants should gather at Mead Chapel for the noon march to the Middlebury village green. A program of music, readings and remarks by students from Mary Hogan Elementary School, the Gailer School, Middlebury Union High School, Middlebury College, and other members of the Middlebury community will take place in St. Stephen's Episcopal Church immediately following the march. Refreshments will be served. The Mead Chapel carillon will ring out at noon in honor of Dr. King.

Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten....America owes a debt of justice which it has only begun to pay. If it loses the will to finish or slackens in its determination, history will recall its crimes and the country that would be great will lack the most indispensable element of greatness-justice. --Martin Luther King, Jr., "Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?" (1967)

Jan. 19 Martin Luther King Lecture, 4:00 p.m., Coltrane Lounge in Adirondack House on College St. Lecture by Dr. Jamie Washington on the life and work of Dr. King.