About the Celebration

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebrates the history, spirit and life of one of America's greatest champions of social justice and equality. Each year we honor the work of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy of loving and serving humanity.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Case Western Reserve University includes the MLK Convocation, which features the celebration's keynote address, along with a variety of other events. Programs are organized and presented by Case Western Reserve University schools, departments and student organizations, aiming to remember King's mission and inspire all members of our community to keep his dream alive. Past events have included art exhibitions, speeches, lunches, panel discussions, performances, plays and films.

The "Celebration Events" section below will be populated as events are confirmed. 

The 2020 celebration theme is “North Star: Illuminating the Path to Change.” 

Events throughout University Circle

Click here for information on how museums and institutions throughout the University Circle neighborhood are honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.  

Campus Celebration Events

Check back for additional events coming soon. 

MLK Convocation featuring Khalil Gibran Muhammad 

Friday, January 17, 2020, 12:45 p.m. 

Location: Tinkham Veale University Center, Kelvin & Eleanor Smith Foundation Grand Ballroom

Keynote speaker, Khalil Gibran Muhammad explains how “bias education”—race education—can help individuals and institutions reconcile the past within the present, and move towards greater equity, together.

The event will be followed by a light reception. Free and open to all. Online registration requested: case.edu/events/mlk/

Sponsored by the President’s Office, the Office of Donor Relations and University Events and the Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Contact: Office of University Events, mlkconvo@case.edu

Sustained Dialogue Moderator Training

Saturday, January 18, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

Location: Thwing Center 101

Sustained Dialogue Moderator training is an 8-hour training that prepares individuals to moderate difficult conversations across different identities. The training teaches participants the five stage dialogue to action process to making effective change on campus. 

Sponsored by: Office of Multicultural Affairs, Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunities, and Office of First Year Experience and Family Programming

Open to the entire campus community. Registration required on Campus Groups

Contact: John Killings, 216-368-2904, jrk160@case.edu

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Reading Seminar

Thursday, January 23, 2020, 4:00-5:15 p.m.

Location: Kelvin Smith Library, Dampeer Room

All are welcome to join this monthly seminar to read and discuss four Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards winners. These informal and rich conversations will explore issues of bias, race and identity, pushing us as readers and thinkers to broaden our perspectives and understanding of societal "truths." Facilitators will help contextualize the historical and social importance of the works, but the discussions will be guided by participants. 

The series begins with a discussion of the award-winning novel There There, by Tommy Orange. This complex and compelling book follows twelve characters in the time before the Big Oakland powwow, while simultaneously examining the plight of the urban Native American—grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism.

Free and open to the community. Attend one or more sessions. Feel free to join the discussion even without reading the books. Light refreshments will be served. No registration needed.

Future seminars:
February 20 - Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, by Jonathan Kozol
March 19 - Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News, by Kevin Young
April 16 - The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende

Sponsored by: Cleveland Humanities Collaborative Seminar Scholars, MLK Celebration Committee, and Kelvin Smith Library

Contact: Lisa Kollins, 216.368.7568, lbk24@case.edu

Black History Mobile Museum 

Saturday, January 25, 2020, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 

Location: Thwing Atrium

Founded by Dr. Khalid el-Hakim, the Black History 101 Mobile Museum is an award winning collection of over 7,000 original artifacts of Black memorabilia dating from the trans-Atlantic slave trade era to hip-hop culture.  Dr. el-Hakim has personally acquired a diverse archive of memorabilia by traveling the country for over 25 years. The museum is purposefully displayed in non-traditional museum spaces, from libraries to living rooms, to give audiences a creative lens to view history, give a greater appreciation for museums in general, and provide a safe space to have conversations about race and social justice.

Sponsored by: MLK Celebration Committee, RHA, and The African American Alumni Association

Free and open to all. 

More information: http://blackhistorymobilemuseum.com

Contact: Aliah Lawson, 216.640.5761, trl30@case.edu

The Journey Ends To Begin, Voices A Century Apart: Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. 

Location: Kelvin Smith Library, O'Neill Reading Room, 2nd Floor

Excerpts from the writings and speeches of Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr. while on their visits to Cleveland, Ohio.  A main attraction will be the commencement address that Frederick Douglass presented to the Western Reserve College (Hudson, Ohio) literary societies on July 12, 1854.

Sponsored by Kelvin Smith Library

Free and open to all. RSVP requested on Campus Groups before 1/31/2020. 

Contact: E. Gail Reese, 216-368-5291, egr@case.edu

Social Justice Teach-In 

Saturday, February 8, 2020, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Location: Tinkham Veale University Center

The Social Justice Teach-In is designed to inspire students and community members to be active and engaged citizens, to increase their understanding of social justice issues, and to enhance their leadership skills in areas such as service, advocacy, and philanthropy. The event will feature a keynote address and 40+ workshop options. The Teach-In is open to students, staff, faculty, and community members. Interested participants should register online by Monday, February 3.

More details and registration information available online: https://case.edu/studentlife/civicengagement/events/social-justice-teach

Sponsored by: Center for Civic Engagement & Learning, Social Justice Institute, InterReligious Task Force on Central America, and CCEL Student Executive Council

Contact: Adrian Griffin, 216.368.1461, aag72@case.edu

Food for the Soul

Friday, February 21, 2020, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. 

Location: Thwing Atrium 

Food for the Soul is an annual CWRU tradition of celebrating the ideas and writing of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. We invite students, staff, and faculty to participate by reading a personally meaningful poem or brief selection from his work or the works of others related to themes of his life. A Soul Food lunch is also provided.

Sponsored by: Student Activities & Leadership, Office of Multicultural Affairs, and numerous student organizations 

Open to the entire campus community, no RSVP required. 

Contact: Randy Blackford, 216.368.2861, randy@case.edu