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Colby College in Waterville will commemorate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with public events and community service opportunities beginning Wednesday, Jan. 13, and including a public keynote address on Monday, Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The theme for the series of events is “Reflecting on the Movement: Mighty Causes Are Calling.”

“Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an important moment for the Colby community to focus on the College’s deep commitment to diversity and inclusion and to reflect on the work that still needs to be done to achieve social justice, on campus and throughout the world,” said Tashia Bradley, senior associate dean of students and diversity, inclusion, and equity programs at Colby. “While the work is ongoing at Colby, the history of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement provide useful context for our students and our society.”

Nell Irvin Painter

Nell Irvin Painter

The keynote public address will occur at 3 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18., the official Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, in Ostrove Auditorium, Diamond Building. Nell Irvin Painter, Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University and a leading historian of the United States will present “A History of White People: A Conversation about Race Relations.” The topic reflects the title of her seventh book, The History of White People, published in 2010. Painter earned a Ph.D. in American history at Harvard and taught from 1998 through 2005 at Princeton.

Colby’s MLK activities begin Wednesday, Jan. 13, with a free 7:15 p.m. screening of the Spike Lee film CHI-RAQ at Railroad Square Cinema in downtown Waterville. The event will include a moderated discussion about the film’s themes of gun violence, sexuality, feminism/womanism, and power.

On Sunday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m. Lorimer Chapel will be the venue for “A Multi-Faith Celebration of the Legacy.” The multi-faith service will include a special MLK Day gospel choir. To join the choir or for information, contact Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life Kurt Nelson (

Events and opportunities especially for students and the campus community include a luncheon and community conversation Jan. 18 hosted and moderated by President David A. Greene and featuring alumni discussing diversity and social justice and why they matter.

Day of Service ImageOn Saturday, Jan. 23, students and Colby community members are invited to participate in a day of community service through the program InterACT with the Community. The day will conclude with the Drum Major for Justice Award Dinner, where campus members who have demonstrated a commitment to social justice will be recognized.

Colby’s Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative events are sponsored by the College’s African-American Studies Program, American Studies Program, Society of Black and Hispanic Unity (SOBHU), Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, Cultural Events Committee Fund, Office of the President, Diversity and Inclusive Community Planning Group, Colby Volunteer Center, Pugh Center, and the MLK Day Commemorative Planning Committee.

For more information contact the Dean of Students Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Programs, 207-859-4250.