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Maya Angelou headlines Wake Forest's Martin Luther King Jr. celebration


January 12, 2010

World-renowned author, poet and activist Dr. Maya Angelou will deliver the keynote address at Wake Forest University’s ceremony honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 18. Angelou, the Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest, will speak in Wait Chapel. The program begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The doors to Wait Chapel will open at 6:15 p.m.

Angelou worked with King in the 1960s as Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She has written that King’s assassination, on her birthday in 1968, left her devastated. Shortly after that, she began work on what would become the critically acclaimed “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Since then, she has written 30 bestselling works of verse, non-fiction and fiction. She was named Reynolds Professor at Wake Forest in 1982.

The program is sponsored by Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State University, the 10th year the two universities have co-sponsored a keynote event to commemorate King’s life.

This year’s theme, “On Common Ground: They Stood Together Then. We Stand Together Now,” is in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the lunch counter sit-ins at the F.W. Woolworth store in Winston Salem on February 8, 1960.  Even though Wake Forest was segregated at the time, 10 white Wake Forest students joined 11 black students from Winston-Salem State to protest segregation.

During the program, the Wake Forest Gosepl Choir will perform, and the winners of this year’s “MLK Building the Dream” award will be recognized. The award is given annually to one professor or administrator and one student from both Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State who embody King’s spirit and work to make his dream come alive in their communities.

The Martin Luther King program is sponsored by the Provost’s Office and the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Wake Forest and the Office of Student Activities at Winston-Salem State.

Other events during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend at Wake Forest include:

5th Annual MLK GospelFest

Sunday, January 17, 3 p.m.

Brendle Recital Hall

$5 admission, free for students with ID and children under 12.

The concert will feature renowned gospel artist Kurt Carr. Several Winston-Salem community choirs, including the Wake Forest Gospel Choir, will also perform.

12th Annual MLK Basketball Tournament

Saturday, January 16, 12:30 - 8 p.m.

Reynolds Gym

The annual invitational basketball tournament brings together intramural teams from several North Carolina universities.

Press Contacts:

Kerry King
(336) 758-6084


Ellen Sterner Sedeno
(214) 546-8893


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