MLK Week observance opens with youth rally, march

· 3 min read

MLK Week observance opens with youth rally, march

Sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr. at the MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr. at the MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Lincoln youths are helping open the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s weeklong celebration of the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

At 8 a.m. Jan. 15, the 23rd annual MLK Week Youth Rally and March will be held at the Nebraska Union. The event, sponsored by Lincoln Public Schools, will start with a pre-rally and empowerment program. It will include a unifying march through downtown Lincoln and finish with a “Call to Action” program at the Nebraska State Capitol.

The university’s MLK Week keynote address will be delivered by Theo E.J. Wilson at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17 in the Nebraska Union Auditorium. The presentation, “In the Shadow of King: 50 Years of Race in America,” is free and open to the public.

Wilson, also known by his poet handle, Lucifury, is an award-winning spoken word artist, pianist, actor, singer, rapper, dancer and activist. He will draw upon his undercover experience in the “alt-right” to give perspective to this new era of racial tension and explore solutions to pressing social matters.

A black man undercover in the alt-right | Theo E.J. Wilson | TEDxMileHigh
Video: TEDx Denver talk by Theo E.J. Wilson

The 2018 Chancellor’s Fulfilling the Dream Awards will be presented during the event. This year’s honorees are J. Kalu Osiri, director of international business and associate professor of practice in management at Nebraska, and Eric Buchanan, Lincoln community leader and director of strategic partnerships for the Buffett Early Childhood Fund. The awards are given to individuals or groups who have contributed to the university or Lincoln by their exemplary action in promoting King’s goals and vision.

Other MLK Week events on campus or sponsored by the university are listed below. All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

  • Jan. 16, noon — Dish It Up!, Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center, OASIS Lounge. Afrikan People’s Union representatives will facilitate a discussion with university students on King’s vision of the “dream” and their own experiences. All students are encouraged to attend. Refreshments will be provided.

  • 6:30 p.m. — Film screening, “I Am Not Your Negro.” As part of its Indie Lens Pop-Up series, Nebraska Educational Television will present the Oscar-nominated 2016 documentary. The film will be followed by a discussion, moderated by Patrick Jones, associate professor of history and ethnic studies at Nebraska.

  • Jan. 18, 6:30 p.m. — Panel discussion, “African-Americans in Higher Education,” Nebraska Union Auditorium. Hosted by the Black Graduate Student Association, the panel will feature faculty, staff and students at Nebraska including Colleen Jones, associate professor of practice in management; Clearthur Mangram, associate director of admissions; Deadric Williams, assistant professor of sociology; Kaleb Briscoe, doctoral student in educational administration; Crystal Dunning, graduate student in music; and Davielle Phillips, graduate student in architecture and business administration.

  • Jan. 19, 6:30 p.m. — MLK Banquet, Nebraska Union Ballroom. Hosted by the Afrikan People’s Union, the banquet will feature a keynote address by Michael Combs, professor of political science at Nebraska. Tickets are $10 for University of Nebraska-Lincoln students and $15 for non-students. For more information, contact

Learn more about MLK Week events at Nebraska.

Recent News