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Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
2009 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebratory Events

One in 100: Dismantling a Prison Nation

MLK 2009 image

"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly."
— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The University of New Hampshire is pleased to present its 2009 MLK Celebratory events commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  A series of six major activities with an overarching theme entitled, One in 100: Dismantling a Prison Nation, will highlight King's struggle to create a beloved community where social, political, and economic justice are more the norm than the exception. This year's theme centers on the conclusion of a 2008 PEW Report that revealed the sobering results of the steady growth of America's prison industrial complex, a system that has more than one in every 100 adults confined behind bars.

In sum, the Annual MLK Celebration is demonstrative of the University's goal to cultivate an inclusive learning community of mutual respect and a shared spirit of inquiry.

Note: All events are free unless otherwise noted

UC Berkeley professor and internationally known civil rights activist, Angela Davis, will deliver the keynote address.

Angela Davis

2009 Schedule of Events Planned

Photo Art Exhibit

Photo Art Exhibit

Thursday, January 22, 2009
6:00 pm, MUB Strafford Room

"There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate."
—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Prison Nation: Unlocking the Stories
This photo exhibit, A Prison Nation: Unlocking the Stories, will feature the work of students from Chester College, The University of New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire Institute of Art, and will consider the impact and effects of imprisonment from different angles and that of the people who are in or have been in the prison system. The exhibit will not only provide a glimpse at the overlaying problems associated with this growth in incarceration rates but will present some of the faces, voices, and stories behind that number.


Spiritual Celebration

Spiritual Celebration

Sunday, January 25, 2009
4:00 pm, Durham Community Church, Main Street, Durham

Breaking the Ties that Bind: A Spiritual Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The University of New Hampshire's inter-faith spiritual celebration affirms supports and highlights the spiritual foundation that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. brought to his work and life. This interactive celebration pays homage to persons from diverse religions and identities who believe in the power vested in humankind to challenge physical, spiritual and psychological bondage, and free us from our figurative and literal prisons in ways that are hopeful, healing and restorative. This is a spirited gathering presenting powerful messages through song, spoken word, music, poetry and reflection, with special musical guests "Rock My Soul" gospel choir. The service will culminate with candle lighting in remembrance of those who have taken action and in announcement of pledges of action. All are welcome!

Sweet Honey

UNH Celebrity Series Concert: Sweet Honey in the Rock

Monday, January 26, 2009
7:00 pm; Johnson Theatre, Paul Creative Arts Center.

Sweet Honey in the Rock is a Grammy Award winning all female cappalla vocal ensemble committed to creating music out of the rich textures of the African American legacy and tradition. Sweet Honey was formed by Bernice Johnson Reagon in 1973 at the D.C. Black Repertory Theater Company. Reagon's music displays flavors of blues, spirituals, gospel, reggae, African chants, hip-hop, ancient lullabies and jazz improvisation. The groups repertoire speaks from the music of the black church, the calls of the civil rights movement, and songs of the struggle for justice everywhere. The name Sweet Honey in the Rock, comes from Psalm 81.16, which describes the promise to a people to be fed by the honey from a rock. The group, which comprises five singers and one sign-language interpreter, tours the world singing songs of hope, love, justice, peace and resistance. Please visit the UNH Celebrity Series to purchase tickets for this event or call 603-862-2290. For more information

Laura Knoy

Conversation With Angela Davis: Hosted by Laura Knoy

Thursday, January 29, 2009
12:30-2:00pm, Strafford Room, MUB

Laura Knoy conducts a critical conversation with Civil Rights activist Angela Davis on decades of leadership as an activist and scholar. The conversation focuses especially on Davis' work to shift national strategies from punitive to restorative justice. The audience is invited to submit questions to join in the conversation. Laura Knoy launched NHPR's "The Exchange," New Hampshire's only interview and call-in public affairs show. She also hosts the popular series, "Writers on a New England Stage," at the Portsmouth Music Hall.

Commemorative Address

Annual MLK Commemorative Address

Thursday, January 29, 2009
7:00-8:30 pm, PCAC Johnson Theatre

Education or Incarceration: The Future of Democracy
Angela Davis, an icon of the radical political activism of the late 1960's and early '70s, may have tamed her trademark Afro but her ideas remain on the radical edge of the political spectrum. In her address, she will express her concerns about our government's general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system rather than to educational institutions. Davis will discuss the sobering facts about the proliferation of prisons and the disproportionate incarceration of minorities. She has also conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender and imprisonment. Her most recent books are Abolition Democracy and Are Prisons Obsolete? She is now completing a book on Prisons and American History.

In addition to Davis' address, this event, MC'd by UNH Senior Radar Onguetou, features performances by UNH professor Reginald Wilburn, New Hampshire vocalist Olga Tynes and a dance performance by UNH dance group Xposed.

Join us for an opportunity to have your book signed and engage in conversation with Angela Davis at the Reception and Book Signing immediately following the Commemorative Address.

Videos with Angela Davis:
* Angela Davis, Part I. Inside USA- October 2008. Angela Davis discusses the election, racism, the current U.S. prision system and capitolism   
* Angela Davis, Part 2. Inside USA- October 2008
* "How Does Change Happen"?- In this talk, Angela Davis reflects on her successes and shares her insights on the strategies
* "The Prison: A Sign of Democracy?" Angela Davis explores the range of social problems associated with incarceration.

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Educational Panel

Educational Panel

Thursday, February 5, 2009
12:40-2:00pm, DeMerritt Hall, Room 112

Are Prisons Obsolete? Exploring the Growing Prison Nation in New Hampshire.
Angela Davis, while advocating for a shift from punitive to restorative justice in the way our criminal system addresses crime, asks the question, Are Prisons Obsolete? Through productive conversations with a prison warden, a social worker, legal professionals, and academic scholars, audience members will have a chance to examine the social, economic and political implications of answering YES.

Readings for the educational panel:

  1. Sudbury, Women of Color, Globalization, and the Politics of Incarceration
  2. Angela Y. Davis, Abolitionist Alternatives, Are Prisons Obsolete? (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2003)  Chapter 6
  3. An interview with Angela Davis, Attacking the "Prison Industrial Complex", Time Media Transcripts
  4. The 2008 Pew Report One in One Hundred
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Essay Contest

2009 Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest

Deadline is January 20, 2009, 12:00pm. The first place essay will receive a $300 monetary reward!

We invite interested undergraduate students to submit well-written, analytical essays as part of the Annual MLK Celebration. Essay contest participants will write a 2-3 page essay responding to the same question that serves as the title of Angela Davis' recent book, "Are Prisons Obsolete?" as a way of addressing the controversial issues surrounding prison proliferation in the United States. Submissions representing all perspectives are welcome. Students are encouraged to utilize both Angela Davis' book and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" as reference texts for their writing.

For more information

Social Justice Winners

2008 Social Justice Award winners

Social Justice Awards

Friday, January 30, 2009
7:00pm, UNH Alumni Center

"I think the importance of doing activist work is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single individual who may have achieved whatever but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement" Angela Davis

The UNH Diversity Team, in partnership with the Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. Celebration Committee, will honor UNH community members who have demonstrated excellence and integrity with respect to advancing social justice issues within our community and beyond. Each year, faculty,staff and students are recognized for their roles in providing outstanding leadership, courage and role modeling in promoting social justice issues as diversity, equity and human rights.

 MLK Events sponsored by:
Affirmative Action & Equity Office, Center for the Humanities, Chester College, Discovery Program, Diversity Initiatives, First Year Programs, Graduate School, Memorial Union Building, NH Institute of Art, Office of Community Service, Office of Health Education & Promotion Health Services, Office of the Vice President For Student and Academic Services, OMSA, President's Commission on the Status of People of Color, Queer Studies, Race Culture Power, Residential Life, UNH Parents Association Grant, University Advising and Career Center, Women's Studies

Events supported by:
Admissions, Alliance, African American Studies, American Studies, Center for New England Culture, Black Student Union, Community Church of Durham, Diversity Support Coalition, Office of the Provost, Presidential Events, The Healing Garden, UNH Chaplain's Association, United Campus Ministry to UNH