Skip to main content


Our Call to Shape the Future

Three nationally acclaimed speakers highlight University of Dayton events to celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and call on the campus community to be a witness to history and shape the future.

Wil Haygood, a New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize-finalist whose 2008 Washington Post story "A Butler Well Served by this Election" became the basis for the award-winning film The Butler, will deliver the keynote address at the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, in the Kennedy Union ballroom. The breakfast is sold out. Haygood, a first-generation college student born to a single mother, has chronicled America’s civil rights journey through the lives and times of Thurgood Marshall, Sammy Davis Jr. and Sugar Ray Robinson, among others.

The annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast also will be part of the Association of American Colleges and Universities' call to mark the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s second annual National Day of Racial Healing. The foundation encourages colleges and universities to engage in activities, events or strategies that day to promote healing and foster engagement around the issues of racism, bias, inequity and injustice. 

A week later, Nikole Hannah-Jones, who covers racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine and chronicles racial segregation in housing and schools, will deliver the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. address at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, in the Kennedy Union. Her talk, part of the 2017-18 University of Dayton Speaker Series, is free and open to the public. Her articles on segregated housing and schools plus her deeply personal reports on the black experience in America expose how racial inequality is maintained through official policy. Hannah-Jones is writing a book on school segregation called The Problem We All Live With.

The next evening, also part of the Speaker Series and in conjunction with the Global Voice Symposium, Imbolo Mbue will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, in the Kennedy Union ballroom about her experiences as an African immigrant. She wrote Behold The Dreamers, a 2017 Oprah’s Book Club pick and winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, which is informed by African immigrant experiences. A book signing immediately follows her talk, which is free and open to the public.

Other University of Dayton events to celebrate King include:

  • Faculty, staff and students will participate in Dayton's Martin Luther King Day march at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at the Dr. Charles R. Drew Health Center, 1323 W. Third St. in Dayton. Open to the public.
  • A trio of movie nights and discussions — Selma (6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, Roesch Library Collaboration Space), The Butler (10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19, Sears Recital Hall) and I Am Not Your Negro (6-8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, Roesch Library Collaboration Space).
  • The University's monthly prayer service for peace and people impacted by discrimination and violence — Prayers of the Heart — at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, at the University of Dayton Peace Pole in the courtyard between the Immaculate Conception Chapel and St. Mary's Hall. Open to the public.
  • Table of Plenty lunch discussion on social justice topics related to the impact and legacy of King at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in the Kennedy Union east ballroom. RSVP here.
  • Faculty, students and staff will participate in a day of service in the Dayton community — the MLK Social Plunge throughout Dayton 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20.
  • The University will conclude its celebration of the bicentennial of the founding of the Society of Mary with a Mass at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, in the Frericks Center to commemorate the feast day of Marianist founder the Blessed William Joseph Chaminade (Jan. 22). Open to the public.

To learn more about the University's events to celebrate King, contact Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee chairs Verb Washington or Christina Smith at or, respectively.


News and Communications Staff