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Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Event

Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Lecture
Featuring Ijeoma Oluo

Monday, March 1, 2021
Virtual Event
7 p.m. Cornell University 
Click here to access a recording of the event

Ijeoma Oluo Headshot

A Conversation with Ijeoma Oluo

As we commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., join us in a conversation with Ijeoma Oluo as we explore racism in the U.S. and consider how to engage in productive anti-racist action. The conversation will be led by Edward Baptist, professor of history. Q&A to follow.

Ijeoma Oluo is a Seattle-based Writer, Speaker and Internet Yeller. Her work on social issues such as race and gender has been published in The Guardian, The Stranger, Washington Post, ELLE magazine, NBC News and more. Her NYT bestselling first book, So You Want to Talk About Race, was released January 2018 with Seal Press. Her most recent book, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America, was released in 2020.  Open to all members of Cornell and the surrounding community. 

This event will be live-captioned and recorded.

To learn more about Ijeoma Oluo and her best-selling book So You Want to Talk about Race, please visit this library guide compiled by the John Henrik Clarke Africana Library and the Tompkins County Public Library. 


The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration at Cornell aspires to be a cross-campus and community partnership that makes accessible the life and legacy of Dr. King for contemporary times. The King commemoration seeks to bring together Cornellians, Ithaca College and Ithaca community colleagues to plan and participate in this event. The Commemoration seeks to bridge the gap between memory and history: the memory of an earlier generation that participated in or lived during the black freedom struggle of the 1950s and 1960s; and the history of a faraway time for persons born after this period. Speakers for the King Commemoration have included those who worked directly with or knew Dr. King, and scholars, activists, journalists and religious leaders whose work is informed by and a continuation of his legacy. These speakers have highlighted the continuity between past and present, providing critical examination of King's legacy and contemporary issues. The issues with which Dr. King grappled — racism, poverty and income inequality, war, militarism, imperialism, governmental abuses of power, barriers to community-based on ethnicity, religion, creed — remain with us today. These very issues currently constitute a greater threat to American democracy than at any time since his assassination in 1968. The manner in which these issues are addressed will determine our collective future as a society. A cross-campus/community partnership to commemorate Dr. King, a composite of the "Beloved Community" central to his thought and action, can be a local example of collaboration across real and perceived stratification to promote moral values and social justice. 

Thank you to the Martin Luther King, Jr Commemoration Event Planning Committee

  • Oliver Goodrich, Chair - Associate Dean of Spirituality and Meaning Making; Director of Cornell United Religious Work

  • Eric Acree - Director, John Henrik Clarke Africana Library Curator; Africana Collections, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
  • Shakima Clency - Peggy J. Koenig '78 Associate Dean of Students for Student Empowerment
  • Kristin Dade - Co-Director, Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives 
  • Leslyn McBean-Clairborne - Director, Greater Ithaca Activities Center
  • Victor Younger - Director, Diversity and Inclusion School of Hotel Administration
  • Latesha Fussell - Director, Diversity and Inclusion, Art and Architecture Planning

SPONSORS: Office of Spirituality and Meaning-Making (OSMM) and Cornell United Religious Work (CURW), Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI), Black Students United (BSU), Greater Ithaca Activity Center (GIAC), Gender Justice Advocacy Coalition (GJAC), CU Tonight, Tompkins County Public Library