Henry Louis Gates, Jr. leads UVM’s celebration of MLK

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The University of Vermont will launch a series of events to honor the life of King. The highlight will be a keynote speech by renowned Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 4 pm to 5:30 pm in Ira Allen Chapel. The event is free but tickets must be picked up Friday, Jan. 18 at the following locations: Davis Center, 3rd floor information desk; Patrick Gym, athletics ticket office (top level lobby); and Waterman Building, Registrar’s office student services kiosk (3rd floor). Please note that the athletics and Waterman locations will be closed Monday, Jan. 21.

Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University. He is also editor-in-chief of the Oxford African-American Studies Center and is, most recently, the author of “Finding Oprah’s Roots, Finding Your Own.”

UVM will also hold a commemorative ceremony, “Voices of Many: Our Community,” featuring a keynote address by Rev. James Forbes, senior minister emeritus of the Riverside Church in New York City and president of the Healing of the Nations Foundation. The ceremony will include a performance by the SUNY Plattsburgh Gospel Choir on Thursday, Jan. 24, 4 to 5:30 pm in Ira Allen Chapel. This is also free and open to the public.

In the spirit of King’s service, the university will run a “Share the Warmth” campaign Monday, Jan. 21 to Friday, Jan. 25, encouraging members of the campus community to donate new warm accessories and nonperishable food items to benefit the Sara Holbrook Community Center, the Milton Family Community Center, and the Salvation Army. Donations may be dropped at the following locations: the Davis Center Atrium, Given/Rowell Brickyard, Waterman Building (College St. entrance), Patrick Gym lobby, and the Fireplace Lounge area in the Living/Learning Center.

The celebration will close with a performance by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Friday, Feb. 1, 8 pm at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $15 to $42 at the FlynnTix regional box office lobby window at 153 Main St. in Burlington. Award-winning South-African a cappella ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo has performed for the Pope and the Queen; sung with Stevie Wonder and Dolly Parton; and contributed vocals to Paul Simon’s “Graceland” and Disney’s “The Lion King.” The group’s most recent album, “Songs from a Zulu Farm,” earned them a 16th Grammy nomination.

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