Niagara University’s annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will include a plethora of activities, the centerpiece of which is a keynote address by the late civil rights leader’s youngest daughter, Dr. Bernice A. King.
Dr. Bernice King, the chief executive officer of the King Center, will speak at 5 p.m. on Jan. 31 at Niagara University’s Castellani Art Museum. There is no cost to attend the public event, which is co-sponsored by Niagara University’s President’s Office and the Niagara University Student Government Association.
Born the youngest daughter of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, Dr. Bernice King began her oratorical journey when she spoke in her mother’s stead at the United Nations at age 17. Over the years, she has had the occasion to speak in such places as the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, major corporations and universities, and in places throughout the world, including South Africa, Germany and New Zealand, to name a few.
Through her work at the King Center, Dr. Bernice King has continued to educate youth and others about the nonviolence principles modeled by her parents, a philosophy and methodology that provides the knowledge, skills and motivation necessary for people to pursue peaceful strategies for solving personal and community problems.
In April 2008, Dr. Bernice King was one of the 15 delegates selected to meet Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the United States and, in 2015, she attended Pope Francis’ visit to the White House, as did Niagara University’s president, the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Bernice King speak at Niagara University’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King event honoring the incredible legacy of her father,” said Averl Harbin, NU’s director of multicultural affairs. “Dr. King, like her father, embraces the critical principles of community, mentorship and care for others, values that Niagara University upholds as part of its Catholic and Vincentian mission.”
Below is the full schedule of activities coordinated by Niagara University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs in observance of the federal holiday that marks the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Tuesday, Jan. 17
4:30 p.m. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer and Reflection
The campus community will come together for a prayer and reflection honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Alumni Chapel.
Wednesday, Jan. 18
7 p.m. – Screening of Southside With You
Attendees will watch the biographical film of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Gallagher Center Multi-Purpose Room (MPR). (All films/videos are intended for the educational instruction of Niagara University students.)
Thursday, Jan. 19
2 p.m. – Did You Know?
This program will feature important events and data to commemorate the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and influential leaders of the past, present and future. MPR.
Tuesday, Jan. 24
4 p.m. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Ceremony & Reception
Niagara University students have the opportunity to receive awards for entries that highlight and celebrate the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. MPR.
Wednesday, Jan. 25
2-6 p.m. – Tunnel of Oppression
Participants will walk through a series of sensory experiences. The experiences used in the tunnel may include role-play situations portraying racism, homelessness, ableism, sexism, homophobia, and body image. O’Shea Hall.
Thursday, Jan. 26
2 p.m. – Diversity Topic Thursday: Screening of Race
Attendees will watch the sports drama film about Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens. MPR. (All films/videos are intended for the educational instruction of Niagara University students.)
Monday, Jan. 30
7 p.m. – “Freedom Crossing”
This training highlights the Niagara Movement and the Underground Railroad to explore Niagara Falls’ involvement with the African-American fight for freedom. MPR.
Tuesday, Jan. 31
5 p.m. – Keynote Speaker: Dr. Bernice A. King
Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of the King Center, will deliver a talk in Niagara University’s Castellani Art Museum.
Friday-Sunday, Feb. 3-5
Trip to Washington, D.C.
Niagara University students will take a trip to Washington, D.C., to view the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum, among other sites. The experience is co-sponsored by NU’s Campus Programming Board.
For more information, please contact Niagara University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs at 716.286.8510 or ude.aragainnull@nibraha.