Friday, January 28, 2022

A guide to MLK Day events at MSU

January 13, 2022
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and President Stanley lead the annual MLK Day walk from the MSU Union to the Beaumont Tower on Jan. 20, 2020.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and President Stanley lead the annual MLK Day walk from the MSU Union to the Beaumont Tower on Jan. 20, 2020. —
Photo by Rahmya Trewern | The State News

Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be celebrated nationwide Jan. 17, marking the 36th year of observance since its federal passage in 1986. The holiday aims to celebrate the achievements of the civil rights leader who famously led numerous actions during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

A wide variety of events around Michigan State University’s campus will take place in celebration and remembrance of King in the days before and after the holiday. The State News has compiled these events into a comprehensive guide for a smoother celebrating experience.

Friday, Jan. 14

1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. - Fifth Annual Diversity Research Showcase

Presented by four MSU colleges, MSU Libraries, MSU Undergraduate Research and the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, this showcase aims to highlight undergraduate student work that focuses on issues that further diversity and inclusion. 

The bulk of presentations will be focused on student-made posters, which will be open for viewing. This will be followed by oral presentations from each of the featured students. Cash awards will be handed at the end of the event for the best presentations in each category.

This event will be fully online via Zoom.

Sunday, Jan. 16

10 a.m. - MLK Holiday Ecumenical Service

This service will be jointly hosted by various on-campus, religious organizations, and will feature a number of artistic faith-based performances.

Held via Zoom, this event requires participants to register in advance.

12 p.m. - Interview with Witness #43: Mary Ellen Norwood-Ford

The Administrative Professional Association, or APA, will be hosting an interview with Mary Ellen Norwood-Ford, a witness to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

After the interview, a short question and answer session will be offered to the audience.

The interview will take place via Zoom and participants must register prior to the event.

3 p.m. - Jazz: Spirituals, Prayer and Protest Concert

Part of a week-long series of events organized by the MSU Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, this is a free jazz concert featuring talents such as celebrated trumpeter, band lead and composer Charles Toliver and recording artist and instrumentalist Damien Sneed.

The event will take place at the Fairchild Theater. In accordance with recent changes in MSU policies, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is required to attend.

Tickets are free, and can be claimed at A livestream of the concert will also be available.

Monday, Jan. 17

Support student media! Please consider donating to The State News and help fund the future of journalism.

12 p.m. to 3 p.m. - MLK Student Leadership Conference

This event — hosted jointly by 12 campus-wide organizations — will feature presentations, student speakers and entertainment.

Free T-shirts will be provided while supplies last. A raffle drawing for a variety of prizes will take place as well. 

The purpose of the conference is to “develop the leadership potential of current students, to provide a platform to elevate student voices, and to develop opportunities to build a community focused on common goals.”

This event will directly lead into the MLK Virtual Commemorative March, which will be held at 2:30 p.m.

Due to developments regarding COVID-19, this event will now take place virtually via Zoom. Registration is required and must be completed by Jan. 13.

2:30 p.m. - Annual Virtual MLK Commemorative March

This annual march will be held directly following the MLK Student Leadership Conference. The event will be hosted by the MLK Student Planning Committee and the MSU Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha.

While originally planned to be an in-person event, the march will now take place virtually via Zoom. Registration for this event is required.

3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. - 2022 Virtual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Conversation

This free event was originally scheduled to feature a dinner service at Kellogg Hotel but has been reformatted as a virtual event in the wake of MSU’s decision to start the semester’s classes online.

The new online conversation will include speakers such as author Tamura Lomax, MSU Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Jabbar Bennett and MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.

Presented via Zoom, registration is available online.

Jan. 17 - Jan. 21 - Five Nights Towards Freedom

A partnership between MSU Libraries and WKAR Public Media brings a week-long commemorative film series.

On Jan. 17 through Jan. 21, community members can tune in virtually to watch films such as “Power to Heal: Medicare and the Civil Rights Revolution," "Unnatural Causes: When the Bough Breaks," "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," "Unnatural Causes: In Sickness and In Wealth" and "Poisoned Water."

All films begin at 7 p.m., and hosts will include MSU professors Susan Stein-Roggenbuck, Mieka J. Smart, Renee Branch Canady and LeConté Dill.

Students and community members are invited to register at

Wednesday, Jan. 19

All Day - MLK Personal Day of Service

While it is not an organized event, MSU students are encouraged to partake in community service throughout campus and East Lansing on this day in support of King’s ideals regarding service to each person’s community.

One opportunity for students to participate is the Stuff the Library Book Drive— which aims to donate books with diverse representation to school libraries. Books can be mailed to the WorkLife Office or dropped off at donation bins at the MSU Main Library. An Amazon Wishlist of suggested books is available.

Registration for service-related activities is not required. However, students are encouraged to log their hours in the MSU Civic Life App.

Thursday, Jan. 20

6 p.m. to Jan. 21 - Fifth Annual Social Justice Art Festival 

In the fifth iteration of this two-day event, various artists will compete for cash prizes up to $500.

All exhibitions will feature themes of social justice, and all artists will be MSU undergraduate or graduate students.

No registration is necessary for this event. Due to recent developments related to COVID-19, this event will take place virtually via Zoom.

Friday, Jan. 21

12 p.m. - MLK Week Virtual Tour of the Atlanta and the King Center

This virtual tour will allow participants to view and learn about The King Center and other civil rights landmarks in Atlanta.

This event will be held via Zoom. Registration is required for all participants.

This story was in our Jan. 11 print special edition. Read the full issue here.


Share and discuss “A guide to MLK Day events at MSU” on social media.