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Roberta Radovich
IU Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs

Last modified: Monday, January 9, 2012

Theatrical production, concert among week of activities marking Martin Luther King's legacy

Jan. 9, 2012

Editors: While this announcement focuses on King Day activities at IU Bloomington, links to information about events on other IU campuses can be found at the bottom of this release.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A theatrical production that imagines a conversation between two of America's most important civil rights figures -- the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X -- will highlight a week of activities at Indiana University Bloomington celebrating King's legacy, beginning Thursday, Jan. 12.

The Meeting

Wesley Lawrence Taylor, left, a graduate of the New Theatre Conservatory, portrays Malcolm X, and Jeff Robinson, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, portrays the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in "The Meeting."

Print-Quality Photo

Jeff Stetson's award-winning play, "The Meeting," portrays an imagined conversation set one week before Malcolm X's assassination in February 1965. Everyone is invited to a free performance at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, in the Whittenberger Auditorium of the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St., with reception to follow in the University Club.

Also beginning at 4 p.m. Jan. 15 is a concert at Auer Hall of the IU Jacobs School of Music, "Martin Luther King Celebration: Honoring the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

The university also will help to present the Bloomington community's celebration at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, which will feature as keynote speaker former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, now director of the IU Center on Congress. The community celebration, which also will feature musical performances, will take place at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave., and is free and open to the public.

The theme for IU Bloomington's celebration is "Living King's Legacy: Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century."

Other IU events include a day of activities for elementary school children at the IU School of Education, an interfaith prayer service, a leadership breakfast, a unity summit and a series of films that will be presented in campus cultural centers and residence halls. All IU events celebrating King's life are free and open to the public, with the exception of the leadership breakfast, which is by invitation.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Print-Quality Photo

Classes are not held on the King holiday, and many IU Bloomington students use the day to honor King's legacy by volunteering in the community. "A Day On, Not a Day Off" -- a massive volunteer effort organized in cooperation with a number of nonprofit agencies, IU and the city of Bloomington -- will be all day on Jan. 16.

Also on Jan. 16, the IU School of Optometry, in collaboration with the Salvation Army, Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity students, the city of Bloomington and the Bloomington Lions Clubs, will provide eye exams and eye glasses to members of the Bloomington community who do not have access to vision care. Eligible patients are required to sign up with the Salvation Army before the holiday. The event will begin at 9 a.m. at the Community Eye Care Center, 803 N. Monroe St. Call 812-336-4310 for more information.

The IU Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs and the MLK Jr. Day Celebration Planning Committee are coordinating many events. They are working closely with Residential Programs and Services, the Jacobs School of Music and the IU schools of education and optometry in the IU College of Arts and Sciences.

More about "The Meeting"

The production of "The Meeting" presents Jeff Robinson, a St. Louis, Mo., native and graduate of the Berklee College of Music, as King; and Wesley Lawrence Taylor, a Boston native and graduate of the New Theatre Conservatory, as Malcolm X. Michael Nurse, a native of London and alumnus of Emerson College, also is in the production.

The play takes place on Feb. 14, 1965, in a Harlem hotel room where Malcolm X is staying after speaking at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. Malcolm has invited Martin Luther King Jr. to visit him. The play presents what could have transpired between Dr. King, a champion of nonviolent protest, and Malcolm X, an advocate of direct action through self-defense if necessary.

Within a week of the play's setting, Malcolm X was assassinated, as was King three years later. The play examines the clash of the ideas and tactics for the advancement of freedom, the humanity of two devout men of faith, loving fathers and husbands and leaders, who were each willing to lay down their lives for the cause of justice.

Other IU events centered on the holiday include:

  • An annual Leadership Breakfast that brings the IU community together to focus on King's ideals, beginning at 8 a.m. Jan. 16 in Alumni Hall of the Indiana Memorial Union. Winners of IU's MLK Day essay contest and Building Bridges Award will be announced and receive special recognition. Attendance is by invitation only, and an RSVP is required to
  • An Interfaith Prayer Service scheduled for 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 16, in Whittenberger Auditorium of the Indiana Memorial Union. The program celebrates and increases awareness of various faith traditions through reflective prayers, music and the spoken word.
  • A Unity Summit in the Willkie Auditorium, 150 N. Rose Ave., noon to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 16. The event brings IU students together for a program that promotes civil dialogue and explores ways to improve the campus climate for all IU students.
  • "Martin Luther King Celebration: Honoring the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," a concert at 4 p.m. Jan. 15 at Auer Hall, sponsored by the Jacobs School of Music, African American Arts Institute and Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. The program featuring performances by students, faculty and guests will include musical performances and excerpts of King's speeches.
  • The IU Bloomington School of Education's Ninth Annual King Activity Day with Children, Jan. 16, in the School of Education Atrium. Elementary-age students from the community will participate in a variety of educational activities, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information or to volunteer, contact Leana McClain at 812-856-8160 or
  • A campuswide student art showcase, "Expressions of Dr. King's Dream: A Legacy of Arts," opening at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, in Alumni Hall of the Indiana Memorial Union.
  • A series of films that deal with civil and human rights, including "The Help," "Do the Right Thing," "Jungle Fever," "Crash," "Remember the Titans" and "Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train," will be shown across campus. Other films being shown include "Gran Torino," "¡Palante, Siempre Palante!: The Young Lords," "Selma, Lord Selm" and "12 Angry Men." For details, visit

Complete information about all IU Bloomington King Day events is available at a special website,

Links to information about King Day events at other IU campuses: