Honoring a Legacy
This year, the Bowdoin College community celebrates the ninetieth birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"Dr. King had a remarkable impact across generations and time, and in remembering him, we acknowledge the work that remains and the power we each have to build a better world. This series of events and special video help us reflect on both a legacy and a life, dedicated to justice and to a better America."

President Clayton Rose


Monday, January 21, 2019

Events highlighted in yellow are free and open to the public.

Martin Luther King Day Film Screenings

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Hawthorne Longfellow Library, Media Commons

The Library will be screening films throughout the day on January 21, 2019 in honor of Dr. King. Please join us!

"I Have a Dream": Speech Viewing

11:00 a.m., Thorne Dining Hall

The famous March on Washington speech of 1963 will be shown during the lunch hour. This viewing will be available in closed caption.

Fierce Compassion

3:30 p.m.30 College Street, Great Room

A class on compassion for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, co-led by Katie Byrnes, director of the Baldwin Program, with Bernie Hershberger and Shelley Roseboro of the Counseling and Wellness Center. (This class is full.)

Then and Now: Bowdoin College, African Americans and Art

3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.Zuckert Seminar Room, Bowdoin College Museum of Art

King's May 1964 visit to Bowdoin College included a visit to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. There, King viewed The Portrayal of the Negro in American Painting, an exhibition dedicated to using art to illustrate the presence and contributions of African Americans. Join Dana E. Byrd, assistant professor of art history, Frank Goodyear, co-director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and Kinaya Hassane ‘19 for an exploration of art, including works related to that landmark exhibition, and more recent acquisitions. (This class is full.)

A Discussion of Dr. King’s Letter From A Birmingham Jail

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Roux Center, Room 207S

Presented by President Clayton Rose, participants will consider the Letter as a tool of leadership. Specifically, what was its meaning and purpose in the moment, and what relevance and resonance does it have for us today? (This class is full.)

The Content of our Character (This class is cancelled.)

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Massachusetts Hall Seminar Room (First Floor)

Professor Tess E. Chakkalakal will launch a discussion of Shelby Steele’s 1990 book, The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America. Steele’s controversial book was one of the first to consider the legacy of King's ideas in the context of the rise of identity politics, particularly on college campuses.

"The Other America": Speech Viewing and Reflection

5:00 p.m., Thorne Dining Hall, Daggett Lounge

In his "The Other America" speech, delivered at Stanford University on April 14, 1967, King addressed race, poverty, and economic justice. There will be an opportunity for student-led discussions and reflections following the speech. Runtime: 47 minutes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture and Q&A

The Radical King: His Final Years

mlk-taylor-branch-book.jpgKeynote Speaker Taylor Branch

7:00 p.m., Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center
9:15 p.m., Post-lecture reflection, Ladd House

Author and historian Taylor Branch's landmark narrative history of the civil rights era, America in the King Years, has been compared with other epic histories such as Shelby Foote's The Civil War and Robert Caro's multi-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson. 

The first book of Branch's trilogy, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, won the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards. Branch's other accolades include the National Humanities Medal, the Dayton Peace Prize, and a MacArthur Genius Grant. 

There will be a reception and book signing immediately following the lecture and Q&A.