Actor, director, producer, and political activist Danny Glover is headlining the 2014 MLK celebration at Vanderbilt. The theme for Vanderbilt’s annual commemoration this year is ‘Do Justice.’ An actor on screen, stage and television for more than 25 years, Glover has also become known for his community activism and philanthropic work. He will be the featured headliner for Vanderbilt University’s MLK Day celebration on Monday, Jan. 20 at ‘An Evening with Danny Glover.’ The evening will begin at 6:30 pm with student performances, including the winners of the university’s annual MLK essay contest for middle and high school students reading their winning entries. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets for the general public will be available in early January.
A San Francisco native, Glover trained at the Black Actors’ Workshop of the American Conservatory Theatre. He made his Broadway debut in Athol Fugard’s production Master Harold . . . and the Boys, which led to his first leading role in the 1984 film Places in the Heart, which was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.
Glover also starred in two more Best Picture nominees: Witness and The Color Purple. Later he would star with Mel Gibson in the hugely successful Lethal Weapon films.
His work also includes the award-winning To Sleep With Anger, which he executive produced and for which he won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor; Bopha!; Manderlay; Missing in America, and the film version of Fugard’s play Boesman and Lena. On the small screen, Glover won an NAACP Image Award and a Cable ACE Award and earned an Emmy nomination for his performance in the title role of the HBO movie Mandela.
He has also received Emmy nominations for his work in the acclaimed miniseries Lonesome Dove and the telefilm Freedom Song. As a director, he earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for Showtime’s Just a Dream.
Glover co-founded Louverture Films dedicated to the development and production of films of historical relevance, social purpose, commercial value and artistic integrity. The company’s film Trouble the Water won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Glover’s activism and philanthropic efforts have focused on economic justice and access to health care and education programs in the United States and Africa.
Internationally, Glover has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program from 1998-2004, focusing on issues of poverty, disease, and economic development in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, and currently serves as UNICEF Ambassador.
In his 1963 ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said the following: “Now is the time to make justice a reality.” Earlier that year, Dr. King wrote in his famous ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail,’ that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” These stirring words by Dr. King bring to mind the ancient adage, “to do justice and love kindness.”
This year’s events for individuals, citizens of the world and members of the Vanderbilt community, pose the questions: How can we ‘do justice?’ What are some ways that we all can contribute positively to issues of justice in our world today?