Public Invited to Service for Martin Luther King at Williams, Jan. 15

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: Noelle.Lem[email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Jan. 3, 2001 — Williams College will celebrate the life and work of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 12-15, 2001 as part of the observance of the nationwide observance of Martin Luther King Day.

Events will include a candlelight vigil, readings at Williamstown Elementary School, and an inter-faith service, “Martin Luther King’s Legacy in the New Millennium” with keynote speaker Christian Dorsey. The service will be held on Monday, January 15, in Thompson Chapel at 2 p.m.

Dorsey is the executive director for The Reading Connection, a non-profit organization that provides literacy programs for homeless children in the Washington, D.C. area. He previously served as executive director of Operation Understanding DC, an organization that brings African American and Jewish youth together to confront the tensions between those two groups as a model of how to overcome prejudices in the community at large. Dorsey often lectures on diversity, including serving as a lecturer at the first Brookings Institution symposium on race relations. Dorsey holds a B.A. from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

King himself visited Williams in April 1961, filling Chapin Hall and causing the radio station to broadcast his talk to an overflow crowd in Baxter Hall. He spoke three times on the day of his visit, preaching on one occasion for nearly an hour on the moral argument of his political views, and at another point in the day on brotherhood. He stayed with and formed a friendship to then college chaplain Rev. John Eudsen, with whom he stayed in touch until his assassination in 1968.

This year’s celebration of King’s devotion to integration and nonviolence will begin with music and dance at Williamstown Elementary School, where fourth, fifth, and sixth graders will also read their own essays about King on Friday, January 12. A celebration organized by Williams students and candlelight vigil will follow at 8 p.m. in Chapin Hall. The inter-faith service at which Dorsey will speak will conclude the celebration.

All events are free and the public is cordially invited to attend. For information on any of these events, contact Marcela V. Peacock or Aaron Jenkins at 413-597-3359.

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