Martin Luther King, Jr. Day activities

UVM professor discusses “The Problem of Slavery in Early Vermont”

Author and UVM professor Harvey Amani Whitfield

Author and UVM professor Harvey Amani Whitfield

The Vermont Historical Society will address the important topics of racism and slavery in early Vermont as University of Vermont (UVM) Professor Harvey Amani Whitfield takes the stage to talk about his research. Whitfield will offer his interpretation of the meaning of freedom for black people in Vermont during the first three decades. Whitfield’s research is the basis for his forthcoming book, “The Problem of Slavery in Early Vermont, 1777-1810,” to be published by the Society in February 2014.

“This important and enlightening program will be of great value to Vermont teachers and students, scholars, and readers interested in the early national period of U.S. history, and anyone interested in the history of Vermont,” reflects Mark Hudson, Vermont Historical Society’s executive director.

This commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be held at two locations on Jan. 20, 2014: the Vermont History Museum at 109 State Street in Montpelier at 12 pm, and at 7 pm at the Memorial Lounge of the Waterman Building on the UVM campus in Burlington.

The public is welcome to attend and the event is free of charge. Call Amanda Gustin at 828-2180 for more information or visit

Civil Rights icon featured at Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Week

Julian Bond

Julian Bond

Legendary activist Julian Bond, a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and former Chair of the NAACP, will serve as the keynote speaker of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, Education & Learning Week. His lecture is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 23 at Ira Allen Chapel at 4 pm as part of a special tribute to Nelson Mandela.

Tickets are now available free of charge to UVM students, faculty, and staff (one ticket with UVM ID) and to the general public (one per person) on Jan. 17. They are limited and can be picked up during business hours at the Dudley H. Davis Center (3rd floor Information Desk) and at the Registrar’s Office Student Service Center Kiosk (3rd floor) in Waterman.

“I am so excited to have Julian Bond coming to campus,” said Dr. Wanda Heading Grant, event organizer and vice president for Human Resources, Diversity, and Multicultural Affairs. “He’s the ultimate symbol of what we say we want at UVM. How wonderful that he will be here as part of our tribute to Nelson Mandela. It’s going to be an amazing experience for everyone involved.”

Bond brings a lifetime of activism and civil rights leadership to his keynote address including the founding the renowned Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while an undergraduate at Morehouse College. Following graduation, he helped found the Southern Poverty Law Center and served as the organization’s president.

Bond was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965 but was prevented from being seated by white members of the House because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. The United States Supreme Court ruled that the House had denied Bond his freedom of speech and was ordered to seat him one year later. He would serve in the Georgia House from 1965 to 1975, followed by six terms in the Georgia Senate from 1975-86.

Bond, who has received 25 honorary degrees, is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at American University and a professor in the history department at the University of Virginia. He served as board chairman of the NAACP for 11 years and remains chairman emeritus. He is also president emeritus of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Bond hosted “America’s Black Forum” for 17 years; served as a commentator for Byline and the Today Show; authored the nationally syndicated newspaper column “Viewpoint”; published a collection of his essays, “A Time To Speak, A Time To Act”; and has appeared in The Nation, Life, The New York Times and other national publications.

Teens plan MLK, Jr. Day event

Students at South Burlington High School (SBHS) have planned the first-ever teen-led Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event scheduled for Monday, Jan. 20, from 9 am-12 pm at the school. The event will include keynote speaker Dr. Charles Johnson, Safe Schools Program Coordinator at the Vermont Agency of Education; small-group dialogue; a service opportunity; and refreshments. The morning event is free, open to the public, and appropriate for all ages.

The newly-established Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tradition is led by SBHS and Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School students from over 10 service organizations with support from Parents and Adults Celebrating Children and Teens (PACT), the South Burlington Recreation Department, and the South Burlington Community Justice Center. For more information, contact PACT Co-Chair Susie Merrick at or 238-1054.

ECHO hosts Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration

J-3-MLK-Day-Color-SECHO will open its doors for a reduced $4 admission day as part of a community-wide celebration of Martin Luther King,  Jr. on Monday, Jan. 20, from 10 am to 5 pm. The day’s events will feature family-friendly programming honoring Dr. King’s legacy, including a musical performance by A2VT; family workshops on race, diversity, and inclusion; and more. Interactive walk-up activities will be ongoing and include a community photo project, sustainability mapping activity, and participatory social justice timeline.

Last year’s MLK, Jr. Day Celebration broke ECHO’s all-time single day attendance with over 1,800 people coming through the doors. This year, attendees will enjoy the newly-opened exhibit, Alice’s Wonderland, in ECHO’s traveling exhibit hall.

10:30 am Mapping Sustainability Workshop with Judy Dow
Saba founder Judy Dow is an educator who specializes in sharing indigenous knowledge with children. Her deep love of the land has led her to develop programs that are both experiential and interactive. In this workshop, she will share her process for engaging rural and indigenous youth in mapping sustainable practices in their communities, as well as highlighting some of her students’ work.

11:30 am An Interactive Social Justice Timeline with the We All Belong Americorps Team
A timeline is not limited to only past events but can be used as a tool to better understand the present moment. In this workshop, children and adults will map their personal experiences with race and identity in Vermont. Participants will be invited to share their stories through words and pictures. We will then share our timeline on ECHO’s floor, inviting other community members to add to our collective timeline.

12:30 pm Reading to End Racism Workshop with Denise Dunbar
Join Denise Dunbar and the Reading to End Racism program to learn how to use storybooks to support conversations about race. This workshop will demonstrate ways that children and families can use literature and personal stories to develop connect to people across diverse backgrounds and counter racism in our daily lives. Come read a story, meet new friends, and learn about books to help talk about race with children.

2 pm Mayor Miro Weinberger shares remarks and welcomes the community to ECHO.

2:10 pm A2VT Music Performance
Join up-and-coming local music group A2VT as they perform songs from their debut album “Africa, Vermont.” Composed of three young men from Somalia, Tanzania, and The Congo, A2VT share their vision of a new American future fused with the traditions of Africa through lively and original music.

For more information, visit

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