Gustavus Announces Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events

Posted on December 13th, 2010 by

The Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr.

Gustavus Adolphus College will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 17, with a public lecture by civil rights movement activist Bernard LaFayette Jr. and a performance of African America by Minneapolis’s Mixed Blood Theatre.

LaFayette will give the College’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture at 10:20 a.m. in Christ Chapel as part of the College’s daily worship service, which begins at 10 a.m. A question and answer session will follow LaFayette’s presentation at approximately 11 a.m. The lecture is sponsored by the Gustavus peace studies program.

LaFayette co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960, and played a leadership role in several key Civil Rights Movement events in the early 1960s, including the Nashville sit-ins in 1960, the Freedom Rides in 1961, and the Selma, Alabama, voting rights movement in 1965.

In addition to his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement in the sixties, LaFayette has also been a minister, educator, and lecturer, and is an authority on the strategy of nonviolent social change. He has served as director of Peace and Justice in Latin America; chairperson of the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development at Gustavus in the mid-‘70s; director of the PUSH Excel Institute; and minister of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Tuskegee, Ala.

LaFayette earned his B.A. from American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tenn., and his Ed.M., C.A.S., and Ed.D. from Harvard University. He has served on the faculties of Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta and Alabama State University in Montgomery, Ala., where he was dean of the Graduate School.

The performance of African America by Mixed Blood Theatre will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17, in Alumni Hall, located on the upper level of the O.J. Johnson Student Union. In this insightful look at the modern African diaspora in Minnesota, the unexpected appearance of a magical African man leads a modern interracial couple to a better understanding and appreciation of the experience of immigrants to Minnesota from Liberia, Ethiopia, and Somalia and helps them consider how to connect with and celebrate one’s heritage.

African America is directed by Warren C. Bowles, who wrote the play and has also toured as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Dr. King’s Dream for Mixed Blood since 1981.

The presentation of African America is free and open to the public. No ticket is required.

Mixed Blood Theatre is a professional, multi-racial theatre company based in Minneapolis that promotes cultural pluralism and individual equality through artistic excellence. The presentation of African America at Gustavus is made possible through Legacy Amendment funds. Last fall, Gustavus hosted the touring company’s production of Theory of Mind.

For more information about Martin Luther King Jr. Day events at Gustavus, contact the College’s Diversity Center at 507-933-7449.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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