Dinner, day of service planned for MLK tribute

Published 6:20 am Wednesday, January 10, 2024

‘Ole Miss 8’ member Kenneth Mayfield to deliver keynote address

By Edwin B. Smith

The University of Mississippi will celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. through its annual MLK Day of Service and Martin Luther King Jr. dinner and celebration.

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Kenneth Mayfield, a member of the “Ole Miss 8” arrested during a 1970 racial protest, is the keynote speaker for the dinner, which takes place Friday, Jan. 12. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Ole Miss Student Union Ballroom.

Admission is free and open to the public, but registration is requested. To register, visit GivePulse or call 662-915-2933.

On Jan. 15, the university, Oxford and Lafayette County communities plan to work together to help improve life in the community during the annual MLK Day of Service and related activities. Event check-in and kickoff will be at the Jackson Avenue Center, and volunteers will be dispersed to various sites around Oxford. Anyone can register to volunteer through Give Pulse.

Mayfield was chosen as this year’s speaker because of his connection to the university and lifelong dedication to serving his community and pursuing justice, said Cade Smith, assistant vice chancellor for community engagement.

“We chose to host the dinner on Friday evening to begin the holiday weekend with fellowship, food, music and an inspirational message,” Smith said. “We also wanted to avoid conflicting with traditional MLK holiday activities in Oxford, including the community-led readings of Dr. King’s ‘Letter From Birmingham Jail’ at Off Square Books on the Saturday before the holiday and a breakfast, march and memorial service on the morning of the holiday at Second Baptist Church.”

The program will also feature music from The Soul Tones. Guests are encouraged to follow King’s example in serving others while creating a more just and equitable society.

The UM Division of Diversity and Community Engagement is organizing the day of service opportunities, which will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Volunteers should check in at the Jackson Avenue Center to get work assignments. Each activity is meant to honor the life and legacy of King.

“We hope that through active participation in the community and intentional relationship-building, the annual MLK Day of Service will continue Rev. Dr. King’s legacy of love, service and community,” said Kathryn Kidd, assistant director of community engagement. “We expect to have over 100 volunteers. In addition to students, several families and groups volunteer annually.”

Other scheduled events to honor King’s legacy include three following:

  • Wednesday-Friday (Jan. 10-12) and Jan. 14: Burns-Belfry Museum tours, noon-3 p.m. Call 662-281-9963 for more information.
  • Saturday (Jan. 13): Community reading of “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” 5-6 p.m., Off Square Books. Email events@squarebooks.com for details.
  • Jan. 15: Annual Oxford/LOU MLK march and program, 10:30 a.m.-noon, Second Missionary Baptist Church. Organized by the Eta Zeta chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. For details, email omega@maxsouth.net.
  • Jan. 16: Screening and discussion of movie “Selma,” 6:30-9:30 p.m., Burns Belfry Museum. Contact info@oxfordfilmfestival.com for details.