Nashville Celebrates the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

Last updated on January 22nd, 2019 at 10:10 am

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr speaking in a Nashville church in the 1960s.

Created to honor the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., MLK Day is celebrated on the 3rd Monday in January. Nashville host many events this week and next, some are listed below, in honor of Dr. King, and his message of love as well as civil and human rights for the marginalized and oppressed.

Belmont hosts 2019 MLK Celebration over two full weeks

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie will speak at Belmont for MLK Keynote.

“One Nation, One People, One Dream” is this year’s theme for Belmont’s MLK observance which runs for a fortnight. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Program was established in January of 1997 at Belmont University as a celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Events are held each January as part of the observance of Dr. King’s birthday. Each of these events are open to the Belmont community and to the public and all are welcome and invited to attend. Events each year include a candlelight vigil in commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement, a chapel service, and a campus dialogue on diversity, race, and ethnicity.

Friday, January 18 kicks off the commemoration with the MLK Celebration Breakfast Featuring Bishop Vashti McKenzie from 7:30 AM – 8:30 AM in the Janet Ayers Academic Center, 4th Floor Conference Room; doors Open at 7:00 AM. Tickets are $15 for general public, faculty, and staff; Belmont students are free with a BU ID.

Following the Breakfast is a Convocation with Bishop Vashti McKenzie from 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM in the Massey Performing Arts Center. Her address will be on the topic, “How this generation can continue Dr. King’s Legacy.”

On Saturday, January 19th, the University will undertake its annual MLK Jr. Day of Service from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM at Tennessee State University.

Monday, January 21st, a Candlelight Vigil will be held from 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM in Gabhart Student Center A&B, in conjunction with an Art Exhibition from 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM in Gabhart Student Center.
Tuesday, January 22nd is Faculty Day from 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM.

Wednesday, January 23rd, a Convocation with Ronald L. Jones from 10:00 AM – 10:50AM in Gabhart Student Center A&B. Jones will address the topic, “How student leadership can sustain Dr. King’s Legacy.” An MLK Worship Service with the BSA follows that evening from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM in the Janet Ayers Academic Center, Chapel.

A “Real Talk with Faculty & Staff” session will take place on Thursday, January 24, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM in the Frist Lecture Hall of the Inman Health Science Building.

Friday, January 25th, Chapel with Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil is in the Chapel of the Janet Ayers Academic Center, from 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM.

Re-Occurring for three consecutive evenings are “Real Talk with Students” sessions in the Johnson Center, Classroom 131, from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM each evening on Monday, January 28th, Tuesday, January 29th, and Wednesday, January 30th.

The Belmont MLK Celebration is sponsored by the MLK Celebration Committee, Bridges to Belmont, Office of Multicultural Learning & Experience, Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Spiritual Development, Office of the University Counsel, University Ministries, Teaching Center, Welcome Home Diversity Council, Division of Student Affairs, Office of Service Learning, Black Student Association, and HOPE Council.

Nashville Branch NAACP Celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rev Keith Caldwell

The Nashville Branch NAACP will join other community organizations to celebrate and commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 21, 2019. All are invited to the annual open house when the newly elected president, Rev. Keith Caldwell, will greet members and the community and share his vision for 2019.

Guest speaker Timothy Carruthers from Chattanooga, TN will share his thoughts on what an NAACP and community partnership looks like and talk about Dr. King’s legacy. The event will be held at the Nashville NAACP Branch Office, located at 1308 Jefferson Street from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Monday, January 21, prior to the annual March. Light refreshments will be served.


Scarritt Bennett Center Celebrates MLK with Vespers & All That Jazz

Scarritt Bennett Center invites the public to come for a free Vespers & All That Jazz service celebrating the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This special service will include excerpts from Dr. King’s speeches and music supporting Dr. King’s passion for justice for all God’s children. The service is on Sunday, January 20, 2019, from 6:30 pm – 7:15 pm in the Wightman Chapel, Scarritt Bennett Center, 1027 18th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37212.

Vespers & All That Jazz is a worship experience using words and music from a variety of sources to encounter the Sacred. Understanding jazz to be a process of making music; music which shapes the service and helps people experience the interruptive Spirit of God in oneself and others. The style is experiential. Open minds, open hearts, and open ears are essential. Justice, compassion, peace, and wonder are hoped-for responses.

The Theme is: “Hear the Prophet, Martin Luther King, Jr.” and is based on Scripture: Psalm 36:5-10. Music highlights are CWM RHONDDA by John Hughes; KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE by Robert Manuel Sr./ Hezekiah Brinson, Jr.; “Precious Lord” by Thomas Dorsey, after MAITLAN; ST. THOMAS by Aaron Williams; REPTON by Charles H.H. Parry; “Amen”, traditional after J. Hairston. The Musicians: Kevin Madill, piano; Matt Davich, woodwinds, John Ownby, bass.

Vanderbilt University Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 2019 Commemoration Schedule

Rev. Dr. Teresa Smallwood

Vanderbilt University will host its annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 2019 Commemoration from Friday, January 18 through Monday, January 21, 2019. This year’s theme is: “Our Lives. Our Movements. Our Responsibility.” The theme follows from one of the famous quotes: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

To kick off the weekend, Friday, January 18th, at 12:00 Noon, is an MLK Kickoff event featuring Rev. Dr. Teresa Smallwood, Associate Director of the Racial Justice Collaborative, at the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center. Come out and enjoy great soul food and fellowship to officially kick off the MLK Commemoration. On Saturday, January 19th at 6:00 p.m., an MLK Trivia Night will be held at Ben Schulman Center for Jewish Life (Hillel Center). The VU MLK Weekend of Service has students, faculty, and staff engaged in projects that address specific community needs through intentional service and action all weekend.

On Monday, January 21st, 10:00 a.m. VU students and staff will join in the Nashville Freedom March. The March will start at 10:00 a.m. and will arrive at TSU’s Gentry Center at 12 noon.

From 11:30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m., the annual VU Nashville Freedom Ride will be leaving from Branscomb Circle. Nashville Freedom Rider Kwame Lillard will conduct a tour of significant sites in the civil rights movement in Nashville. The event includes Lunch at Swett’s Restaurant, 2725 Clifton Ave, Nashville, TN 37209, followed by a three-hour tour by Kwame Lillard and Sandra Brown. This is an RSVP event (priority given to Vanderbilt students). Please email Nadine De La Rosa at Vanderbilt for more information.

During the afternoon, there will be six Afternoon Teach-In workshop sessions, divided into two-time blocks ( 1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. & 2:45 – 4 p.m. ) across three tracks, coinciding with the theme for the weekend ( “Our Lives. Our Movements. Our Responsibility”).

“Our Lives” Track sessions are in the Commons Center, Room 235. Session 1: “Countering Islamophobia Everyday” (1.15-2.30 p.m.) with Leaders Sabina Mohyuddin and Lindsey Lleck. Session 2: “Stop & Frisk. Protect and Serve or License to Violate?” (2.45-4 p.m. with Leader Kim Goins, J.D.

“Our Movements” Track sessions are in Sarratt Student Center, Rooms 325/327. Session 1 is “Black Lives Matter” (1.15-2.30 p.m.) with Leader Dr. Brandon Byrd. Session 2: “LGBT & the Civil Rights: What Would Martin Do?” (2.45-4 p.m.) with Leader Richard Pitt.

“Our Responsibilities” Track sessions are in Rand Hall, Room 308. Session 1: “Microagressions. The Hate You Face Everyday” (1.15-2.30 p.m.) with Leader Austin Darling. Session 2: “Picture This. Black Girls Speak Truth to Power” (2.45-4 p.m.) with Leader Claudine Taaffe, Ph.D.

As we reported earlier this month in the PRIDE, April Ryan will deliver the MLK Keynote Address in Langford Auditorium on Monday night, January 21. The evening begins with a 6:30 p.m. Candlelight Vigil, followed at 6:45 p.m. with the MLK Middle and High School Essay/Poetry/Spoken Word Contest Winners. At 7:00 p.m., the MLK Keynote by April Ryan, with Q and A at 7:50 p.m. and at 8:05 p.m., Mrs. Ryan will sign copies of her new book “Under Fire” in the Lobby of Langford Auditorium.

Tickets for the MLK Keynote are free and available through the Sarratt Cinema Box Office through January 20. On January 21, the remaining tickets will be available at the lobby of Langford Auditorium at 6:15 pm. Please visit this link for more specific ticketing details: