The University of Lynchburg’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, “Good Trouble: Uniting Our Dreams and Voices for Justice,” begins with a video produced by the University. Along with images of King and his work, the video features a performance by the Lynchburg Singers of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the “Black national anthem.”
The celebration’s theme of “Good Trouble” is a reference to late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights activist who worked closely with King during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and who urged Americans seeking racial justice and equality to “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
A series of events also will be held Jan. 25-29, the week after the federal holiday.
From 3-4:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25, students, faculty, and staff will share readings from their favorite King speeches on the steps of Hopwood Hall. The public is invited to attend, although face coverings and social distancing are required.
In case of inclement weather, the event will be held in Hall Campus Center’s Memorial Ballroom and will no longer be open to the public, due to COVID-19 restrictions. It also will be livestreamed.
An exhibit of African American Folk Art opens in the Daura Museum of Art on Tuesday, Feb. 2 (postponed from Jan. 26). Assembled from the Daura’s permanent collection, it includes work by Annie Tolliver, Mose Tolliver, and others.
“African American, self-taught art represents the powerful vision of untrained and vernacular artists,” a description of the exhibit states. “Artists who are deeply engaged with personal exploration often create works of profound complexity.
“Recurring themes include struggle and persistence, salvation and protection, and the reshaping of personal worlds through creative expression.”
The exhibit runs through April 9. The Daura Museum of Art is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Thursdays. Face coverings and social distancing are mandatory for visitors.
At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 26, civil rights activists Dr. Virgil Wood and Dr. Owen Cardwell will engage in a virtual panel discussion. The event will be held via Google Meet.
Wood, former pastor of Diamond Hill Baptist Church in Lynchburg, was active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and worked closely with King on the National Executive Board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He also was the Virginia coordinator for the historic March on Washington in 1963.
Cardwell, assistant professor of leadership studies and co-director of the Center for Education and Leadership at Lynchburg, has been active in civil rights causes throughout Virginia and at the national level. His scholarship on King’s work is respected around the country.
“Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin,” an award-winning documentary, will be screened at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27, in Hopwood Auditorium. Rustin, a mentor to King, has been described as the “architect” of the March on Washington and the “unknown hero” of the Civil Rights Movement. Seating capacity is limited, due to COVID-19 restrictions, and the event is not open to the public.
At 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, a “Unity March” will begin at Snidow Chapel and proceed to the Victory Bell Tower, near Shellenberger Field. Along the way, marchers will sing the popular civil rights anthem, “We Shall Overcome.”
Once at the bell tower, University President Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar and Student Government Association President Davion Washington ’21 will speak. The public is invited to attend, although face coverings and social distancing are required.
At 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, Lynchburg students will compete in a virtual trivia contest. In keeping with the week’s theme, questions will deal with King’s life and contributions.
Also, for the remainder of January, Knight-Capron Library will host a display of resources from its collection regarding King, along with a video slideshow, “Martin Luther King Jr.: Poet, Philosopher, and Preacher.”
“As I reflect on Dr. King’s altruistic legacy and why we’re expanding our recognition from a day to a full week, I’m reminded of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,” Dr. Robert Canida, Lynchburg’s vice president for inclusive excellence, said. “According to the first verse, ‘To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.’
“During Dr. King’s season on this earth, he saw his purpose as advocating for justice and peace. I truly believe that it’s our time, our season, and our purpose to continue Dr. King’s dream, which cannot be achieved in one day or even a week.
“However, we will renew our purpose and make the week of celebrating Dr. King’s life and legacy the right thing to do at this time, by uniting our dreams and voices for justice.”