WWU to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr

martin-luther-king-jr-day-L-xGOagM1In observance of Martin Luther King Day, William Woods University is planning a number of events next week that are free and open to the public. The programs focus on some of the defining moments of the civil rights movement even as they renew our commitment to a “greater readiness” and a “greater determination” to build a “better nation.”


12:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20, Burton 006

“A Dangerous Unselfishness: The Moral Vision of Martin Luther King Jr.,” presented by the Rev. Travis Tamerius, WWU chaplain and director of the Center for Ethics and Global Studies.

Around the world, Martin Luther King Jr. is considered one of the moral heroes of the past century. A beacon of the civil rights movement, King had an extraordinary ability to transform an “us” versus “them” mentality into a vision guided by our common humanity: we’re all in this together.  He famously said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” This presentation will look at King’s moral vision and some memorable examples of people who showed heroic moral leadership and an empathetic imagination.  We’ll also consider what a noble human life looks like in practice.


Noon, Wednesday, Jan. 21, Library Auditorium

An Anthropological Solution to the “Race” Problem in America, presented by Dr. Larry Ross, professor of anthropology, Lincoln University.

Larry Ross
Larry Ross

“Race” as we know it today is a concept, although people outside the field of anthropology generally believe it is real.  Dr. Larry Ross, professor of anthropology, shares the root cause of the “Race” problem, and the knowledge that overturns the presumed ‘scientific validity’ of the concept of “Race.”


3 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 21, Academic Building 309

“Historical Memory and the Civil Rights Movement: Protest, Disturbance, and Disobedience,” presented by Dr. Stephen Hageman, WWU instructor of history.

This talk will consider the ways in which both Martin Luther King Jr. and the larger historical struggle for African-American civil rights are “remembered” in contemporary culture, media, and politics.  It will also discuss how those “memories” shape our understanding of the world in which we live today.


Nontombi Naomi Tutu
Nontombi Naomi Tutu

6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 22, Cutlip Auditorium

“Creating Understanding Through the Principles of Martin Luther King Jr.”

The President’s Concert & Lecture Series presents the featured speaker this year, Nontombi Naomi Tutu.  Her father, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his work in healing the racial divide in South Africa.  A sought-after speaker, she has devoted her own life to the pursuit of social justice and travels the world to advocate for tolerance and understanding.  Tutu’s inspirational talk will focus on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the challenges we still face today and how we can find our way forward to a better future for all.


2 p.m., Friday, Jan. 23, Library Auditorium

“The Help” (Film)

Set in the 1960s, “The Help” is a powerful movie about African-American maids and the challenges they faced in a turbulent time inff-001 our nation’s history.  Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, this Academy-nominated film exposes the racism of the time and also highlights the positive changes that resulted from those who thought differently.