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USD Celebrates MLK Day with Weeklong Events

A beautiful, classic picture of Old Main on USD USD will honor Martin Luther King Jr. during a weeklong celebration Jan. 18-22.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota will honor Martin Luther King Jr. during a weeklong celebration Jan. 18-22. Events are sponsored by the Center for Diversity & Community, Knudson School of Law, Office of Diversity and the Gallagher Center for Experiential Learning & Education Abroad.

"MLK Celebration Week recognizes Dr. King's legacy of human rights activism. This year we have chosen to focus on Dr. King's notion of the 'Beloved Community' to encourage everyone to think critically about social justice, equity and inclusion,” said Laura Renée Chandler, Ph.D., director of the Center for Diversity & Community. “We encourage everyone to get involved and learn how to put Dr. King's principles in action."

As part of the annual MLK Day of Service, USD will hold a food drive for the Vermillion Food Pantry. Donations will be accepted Jan. 10-Jan. 19 in multiple locations throughout Vermillion, including the Muenster University Center.

USD faculty are invited to join the 4th annual Faculty Day of Service Workshop held via Zoom from noon-2 p.m. on Jan. 18. The workshop features Professor Timothy Davis, John W. & Ruth H. Turnage Professor of Law at Wake Forest University School of Law, who will discuss “Developing Quality Test Questions, While Eliminating Bias.”

On Tuesday, Jan. 19, all are invited to attend the MLK Jr. Memorial Lecture via Zoom 4-5:30 p.m. Karlos Hill, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of African and African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma, is the keynote speaker and will give the talk, “The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: Lessons and Legacies.”

"Dr. Hill is a leading scholar of civil rights and contemporary race issues in America,” Chandler said. “We are fortunate to have him during a year that will recognize the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. There will be something for everyone in his presentation. Even if you are familiar with the Tulsa Massacre, Dr. Hill will present original research that will encourage you to see the tragedy in new ways."

On Wednesday, Jan. 20, the Vermillion Next Community Service Virtual Panel will be held on the Vermillion Area Chamber & Development Company’s Facebook page at 9-10:30 a.m. Panelists include Jean Caraway, Phyllis Packard, Mark Daniels, Logan Johnson and Kelsey Collier-Wise.

Friday, Jan. 22, there will be a showing of “If Beale Street Could Talk” in the Muenster University Center and online 5-7 p.m. Students will be able to pick up goodie bags prior to the film screening.

For more information on all MLK Jr. Celebration Week events, visit


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News