MLK week features civil rights icon Ruby Bridges

· 3 min read

MLK week features civil rights icon Ruby Bridges

Members of the Lincoln community — including University of Nebraska–Lincoln students, faculty and staff — participated in the 25th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Rally and March on Jan. 20. The event packed the Nebraska Union Ballroom before participants marched to the Nebraska State Capitol.
Justin Mohling | University Communication
Members of the Lincoln community — including University of Nebraska–Lincoln students, faculty and staff — participated in the 25th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Rally and March on Jan. 20. The event packed the Nebraska Union Ballroom before participants marched to the Nebraska State Capitol.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln will honor the legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. with a series of events Jan. 20-24.

The weeklong celebration will offer events for students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the Lincoln community.

An MLK Brunch will begin at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 22 in the Willa Cather Dining Complex, Red Cloud Room. American civil rights activist Ruby Bridges will present the event’s keynote address.

Ruby Bridges

In 1960, when Bridges was only six years old, she became one of the first black children to integrate New Orleans’ all-white public school system. Greeted by an angry mob and escorted by federal marshals, Bridges bravely crossed the threshold of William Frantz Elementary School and initiated the desegregation of New Orleans’ public schools.

Her walk to the front door was immortalized in Norman Rockwell’s infamous painting “The Problem We All Live With,” Robert Coles’ “The Story of Ruby Bridges” and the Disney movie “Ruby Bridges.” Bridges has also published her own award-winning version of her story, “Through My Eyes.”

Anna Shavers
Anna Shavers

Anna Shavers, acting dean of the College of Law, will be presented with the 2020 Chancellor’s Fulfilling the Dream Award during the brunch. The award honors an individual who has contributed to the university or the wider Lincoln community by promoting the goals and vision of Dr. King.

The MLK Brunch is free and open to the public, but registration is required here.

Other MLK week events include:

  • Jan. 20, 9 to 11:30 a.m.: 25th annual MLK Youth Rally and March, Nebraska Union Ballroom. The event will begin with a pre-rally and empowerment program at the Nebraska Union Ballroom, move to the Centennial Room for a Call to Action and culminate with a march to the State Capitol.

  • Jan. 20, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Center for Civic Engagement MLK Reading Challenge. Students, faculty and staff are invited to honor King’s legacy by reading to children at child care centers across the city. The event is hosted in partnership with Read Aloud Lincoln and Prosper Lincoln.

  • Jan. 21, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Dish it Up!, Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center, OASIS Student Lounge. Yaw Kyeremateng, a poet, artist and activist from the University of Southern California, will lead a conversation about using spoken word poetry as a vessel for activism and the issues that drive him to create. A free lunch will follow the event.

  • Jan. 21, 6 p.m.: Film screening of “Always in Season,” Nebraska Union, Swanson Auditorium. “Always in Season” documents how descendants of the victims and perpetrators of lynching are working together to heal a violent history. The screening is hosted by NET, Nebraska’s PBS and NPR Stations, along with the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of People of Color.

  • Jan. 23, 7:30 p.m.: Martha Redbone Presents Bone Hill: The Concert, Kimball Recital Hall. Martha Redbone is an American blues and soul singer of part Cherokee, Choctaw, European and African-American descent. Her music is a mix of rhythm and blues, soul music influences and traditional Native American music. Tickets can be purchased here.

  • Jan. 24, 2 to 3 p.m.: Telling Our Stories, Lied Center Commons. Martha Redbone and Nebraska’s Margaret Huettl, assistant professor of history and ethnic studies, invite the community into conversation about where we come from and who we want to be.

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