Gail Hairston

MLK Center Features New Programming

Published: Oct 4, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 4, 2013) — In its storied 26-year service to the University of Kentucky, the Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Center has undergone many changes, from location to leadership, to programming. With a new calling to address the most vital needs of the students it serves, the center has been launched with a new purpose, new leadership, new programming, new goals and a new name — the Martin Luther King Center.

 

The UK MLKC will focus on supporting the university’s diversity goals by developing and offering programs and experiences designed to prepare all students for the social, cultural and political challenges of an increasingly complex, multicultural, global community, according to its new mission statement. The center is “grounded in the conviction that the development of self-knowledge and cultural competence based on an enlightened worldview is a vital dimension to becoming a genuinely educated person.”

 

The new interim director of the MLKC, Kahlil Baker, said his vision for the Martin Luther King Center is that it be “a hub for intellectual dialogue on diversity and be recognized as living Dr. King’s dream of inclusivity in support of student success.”  Baker is a former counselor for CARES, the Center for Academic Resources and Enrichment Services, a division of the UK Office for Institutional Diversity.

 

UK Vice President for Institutional Diversity Judy “J.J.” Jackson said the new direction is part of a shift to underscore even more the center's role in improving student success.

 

“As an institution, we want to address UK's persistent issues of increasing the retention rate of our students, increasing the diversity of our Honors Program, and trying to enhance student achievement so that students are doing more than just graduating.

 

“Retention is an academic issue, diversity in the honors program is an academic issue, and increasing student achievement is not only an academic issue; research has shown that when students are involved in the life of a university, their academic performance improves,” she said.

 

Jackson did not have to look far for the inspiration she needed to find new purpose for the center. She simply looked to the life of the center’s namesake.

 

“I believe that if we all interpret Dr. King's vision in the same way, in the right way, he would want to help all underserved people to become a stronger part of the institution, the life of the campus and the university success,” she said.

 

When Jackson named Baker interim director, she also appointed Gerald L. Smith as Scholar-in-Residence to the Martin Luther King Center and leader of its academic programming. With research interests in African-American history, the Civil Rights Movement and African-Americans in Kentucky, historian Smith was a co-editor of “The Papers of Martin Luther King Jr.: Advocate of the Social Gospel, September 1948-1963, Volume VI (2007).” Smith, associate professor of history in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, is working on two projects, the Kentucky African American Encyclopedia, which is expected to be published fall 2015, and a book-length study of the history of African Americans in Kentucky.

 

This fall, Smith will take students to historic sites in Kentucky, Camp Nelson and Mammoth Cave and will use his role as the scholar-in-residence to help collect archival materials on Kentucky African Americans and further develop an oral history collection on African American ministers in Kentucky.

 

“I have a passion for making history alive and relevant,” said Smith. “In doing so, I seek to encourage students to think historically and critically. I want to introduce them to historical debates, questions and subjects that will spark their interest in learning more about the past and its connections to the present."

 

He will encourage students to engage in scholarly research through the Nunn Oral History Center and Special Collections and Digital Archives. He will work with the King Center staff to recruit students to serve as research assistants on projects relating to sports history and Kentucky African American history, said Smith.

 

As the King scholar-in-residence, he will teach a spring semester course on the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Students will study King's speeches, sermons, religious theology, leadership, family, the African American church, the civil rights movement as well as the controversy surrounding his assassination.

 

Jackson’s goals and inspirations coalesced into the current plan to “increase the academic and intellectual involvement of the center across the campus, undergirded by some of the cultural programming it has been known for all these years, but recognizing that today’s students need to see the integration of the cultural and the academic as intentional across this campus.”

 

“I know in my heart the King Center can be a rich, rich resource for every group on campus when its effect and impact is spread across the campus. That was the vision that I had for the center when I came here and saw its potential,” Jackson said.

 

She says she has seen that dream come to life in recent months as student-developed programming has birthed a fresh attitude and bringing black students, Asian students, Hispanic students and white students to the center.

 

“Every event that I have gone to recently has attracted a mix of people. In fact, a couple of white students actually endeavored to join black sororities and asked me for recommendations to support their bid to join. I believe that is what King would have wanted us to do, to work toward building something that everyone could learn from, benefit from and enjoy. Because that is the avenue by which we hope to bring this university to a better place, to a higher ground,” said Jackson.

 

Jackson’s teams of students, faculty, staff and administrators have envisioned expansive, innovative new programming priorities for the King Center, under the day-to-day watch of student groups, such as the UK CATalyst Coalition, the Black and Latino Male Student Success Initiative, the MLKC Emissaries and Majestic Unity, and the center’s interim director, Kahlil Baker, and assistant director, Rosalyn Robinson.

 

Using tools such as interviews and opinion surveys, these teams developed the MLKC’s Core Values, which guide all of its internal decision-making processes:

·         Inclusive Leadership: Strive to create opportunities for learning for the entire campus community.

·         Student Success: Strive to become an essential element to success for the students that are underserved in the population.

·         Advocacy: Serve as an advocate for an inclusive campus and environment, and for all students to realize that they are a valued part of the UK community.

·         Collaboration: Work with high regard of collaborating and partnering with a variety of entities.

·         Outreach: Exemplify the ideal and philosophy of Dr. King by connecting students across social and cultural boundaries and the campus to the Lexington community, and reaching across the state of Kentucky to further efforts of inclusivity.

 

“The future of the MLK Center could not be brighter,” Jackson said. “Our students continue to empower us with their sense of resilience and vision for the future of the center. They truly are visionary; the students see possibilities and opportunities to sustain the center’s great legacy, while taking full ownership and responsibility in doing their part to make sure the MLK Center is a supportive space for their needs, but even more so for the students that will come after them.”

 

Highlights of the Martin Luther King Center’s calendar of events this fall follows. Visit the MLKC website for regularly scheduled meetings, like Soup and Substance on third Thursdays, and additional special events. 

 

Oct. 8, 6 p.m., “Platanos Y Collard Greens” (Worsham Theater)

This off-Broadway production has been described as a modern West Side Story. “Platanos y Collard Greens” is a romantic comedy of two college students falling in love against their families’ wishes. Strangers from two different cultures, Latino and Black, these two love-struck students are forced to overcome prejudice while defending their bond with family and friends.

 

“This show will inspire you while making you laugh and think,” said Baker. Tickets are available at the Ticketmaster office at the Student Center for campus and the general public. Tickets are free to all UK students and reduced price for UK faculty and staff.

 

Oct. 17, 5:30 p.m., Soup and Substance: Multicultural Week: Watch Yo Mouth (MLKC)

 

Nov. 7, 6 p.m., Viewing of the movie “42” (Worsham Theater)

Brought to UK in collaboration with the Louie B. Nunn Center and Late Night Film Series.

mlk_center_see_tradition.jpgimg_1933.jpg
August
 
 
 
 
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Artful Sunday: Wrapped Art
Sun
4
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
5
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
6
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
7
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
8
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
9
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
10
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
11
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
12
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
UK Working Moms Connection
Tue
13
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Wed
14
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
15
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
16
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
17
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
18
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
19
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Tue
20
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Chronic Disease Self-Management Program
Wed
21
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Thu
22
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Midnight Dodgeball Tournament
CARES First Year Focus Parent Meetings
CARES First Year Focus Parent Meetings
Parent and Families Reception
Residence Hall Floor Meeting
Off-campus Freshmen Check-in
K Team Meeting: K Week Kick-off
Death By Chocolate
Fri
23
Employee Educational Assistance Award
A Parent's Guide to Life after August 23
Campus Safety Information Session
Donut Avoid The Study
Common Cents: Money Management for College Students Session 1
See Blue...See Community
Succeeding in A Large Lecture Classroom
Horses, Bluegrass, Basketball, and More: Welcome to Kentucky
Success at Any Age: College Tips for Adult Learners
Write Right: Tips for Writing Well in College
Common Cents: Money Management for College Students Session 2
How to Graduate in Four Years
Parental Involvement in Fraternity and Sorority Life
Parents Watch for Warning Signs: Suicide Prevention for College Students
Preparing to be a Pre-Professional
Presentation U!: Where YOU are the Ultimate Presentation
Religious Life at UK
Successful Off-Campus Living
The Transfer Student Cruise: Navigating your way through UK
UK Parking & Transportation 101
You Heard It Here First: Tips From A Faculty Member
New Student Induction Ceremony
Minority Student Welcome
Transfer Student Cookout
K Team Meeting: K Week Overview
Men's Soccer vs. Georgia State
Big Blue U
Campus Ruckus
Campus Ruckus
Sat
24
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: Jackass 3
LNFS Presents: Godzilla
Pedalpalooza
K Team Meeting: Lunch and Campus Tour
Center for Community Outreach: Do Good, Start Here.
UK Lex-Mart
Alternative Service Breaks: See the World, Change the World
From the Real World to the Amazing Race, Don't Wipeout: Your Advisor, Advising, and You
Blackboard Basics
Student Government Association Information Session
EMPOWER: Women’s Leadership Retreat Interest Session
Student Center Spectacular
Student Center Spectacular
Sun
25
Employee Educational Assistance Award
UK FUSION
UK Parking & Transportation 101
University of Kentucky Association for Transfer Students Interest Session
Candy, Condoms, Coffee
Cleaner, Healthier, Cheaper, Faster: Why Bicycling is the Best Way to Get Around Campus (and how to do it safely)
Working on Campus
K Team Meeting: Dinner with your K Team
Meijer Mania
Mon
26
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Last Day to Drop a Course with 100% Refund
Chem at UK Cafe-N-OJ with the Student American Chemical Society
Coffee (or Coke), Cookies, & Communication!: Come see blue. at Presentation U!
Don't Blow Yourself Up: Surviving Chemistry
Fraternity Recruitment Info Session
OMG! Did I Just E-Mail That to My Professor???
Surviving Your First Year and Beyond: Strategies To Do Well in Your Classes
Sustainable UK: Exploring Environmental Programs in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment (CAFE)
A User Guide for Your Mathematics Class
Discover the UK Art Museum
K Team Meeting: Common Reading Experience Discussion
Common Reading Introduction for International Students
Transfer Student Meet and Greet
We Are UK
Rec 'N Roll 2014
Big Blue Bingo Night
Mic Check
Tue
27
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Fraternity Recruitment Info Session
LNFS Presents: Jurassic Park
First Day of Classes
Campus Outreach
Opening Act: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Wed
28
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Her
LNFS Presents: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Student Involvement Fair
OrgSync Info session
LGBTQ* Welcome Back
Dive Into Diversity!
Residence Hall Floor Meetings
Thu
29
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Sea of Blue
One Last Beach Bash: RSA Block Party
LNFS Presents: Team America: World Police
Pills and Pizza
K Week Event: Pills and Pizza
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Wichita State
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Francis Marion
Fri
30
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: Neighbors
The Tailgate "Kick-Off"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Butler
Kentucky Football vs. UT-Martin
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Virginia Tech
Sat
31
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ohio
Men's Soccer vs. Belmont
Sun
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aug 22
Midnight Dodgeball Tournament 08/22/2014
Reset Page