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Race and Equity Scholar Shaun Harper, Jazz Concert Highlight Duke's MLK Events

Commemoration theme, 'Toward a More Perfect Union,' spotlights justice issues

Shaun R. Harper, founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania

Shaun R. Harper, founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania, will deliver the keynote address for Duke University's annual Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration on Sunday, Jan. 17.His 3 p.m. speech in Page Auditorium is part of a program that includes remarks from local and university officials, prayer, spoken word, music and dance performances. The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the Bryan Center Parking Garage ( unable to attend can watch a live stream of the event on Duke’s YouTube channel at Viewers can post comments on Twitter using the hashtag #DukeMLK2016. An archive of the recording will also be posted online.  

Harper, who is also president-elect of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, said his keynote address “will definitely address the wave of recent student protests. I will talk mostly about research I have done over the past decade on racial inequities and racism at dozens of colleges and universities across the country.” Harper said his forthcoming book, “Race Matters in College” (Johns Hopkins University Press), addresses what needs to be done in response to “the persistent racism that people of color experience on most predominantly white campuses.”Harper said he thinks Duke’s commemoration theme -- "Justice or Just Us: Who Is Working to Create a More Perfect Union? -- “perfectly captures the sentiment of many people of color at predominantly white institutions across the country.”Benjamin Reese, chair of the MLK Planning Committee and vice president for Duke’s Office for Institutional Equity, said this year’s theme “challenges us to reflect on the question of who is really committed to actively working on issues of social justice, and who is just focused on their ‘own group.’” He said it is fitting that Harper is the keynote speaker, noting that he has spent his entire career focusing on issues related to race, “highlighting the ongoing challenges to creating true racial justice in America.”Other highlights of the Page Auditorium program include performances by the Collage Dance Company of Durham, the Duke student group United in Praise Gospel Choir, poet and spoken word performer Dasan Ahanu, as well as greetings from Duke President Richard Brodhead, Duke Hospital President Kevin Sowers, Durham Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden and Duke’s Black Student Alliance President Henry Washington. Black Graduate and Professional Student Association President Roketa Sloan, a genetics and genomics Ph.D. candidate, will introduce the keynote speaker.A concert honoring King, titled “Sounds of Justice & Inclusion,” will be presented Saturday, Jan. 16, at 8 p.m. at Page Auditorium, featuring performances by the Durham Symphony, John Brown’s “Little” Big Band, award-winning jazz singer-songwriter René Marie and actor Keith Snipes. Tickets, which are $20 for adults, free for seniors 65 and older, youth 17 and under and students, are available through the Duke University Box Office, or (919) 684-4444.The concert is sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, Duke Chapel, Durham & Regional Affairs, the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute’s John Hope Franklin Afro-Diasporic Humanities Legacies, The Forest at Duke, The Graduate School, MLK Commemoration Planning Committee, Office for Institutional Equity, Sanford School of Public Policy and the Patient Revenue Management Organization. Watch highlights of last year’s MLK concert with the Durham Symphony here.Other campus events, which are all free and open to the public, include:--11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 17, Page Auditorium: The Rev. Dr. Jonathan Walton is the guest preacher during the chapel’s regular worship service. Among the country’s foremost scholars of African-American religion, Walton is the author of “Watch This! The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism.” He is a professor of religion and society at Harvard Divinity School. Watch a live webcast or archived video of the program here;-- 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18, Phail Wynn Jr. Student Services Center, Durham Technical Community College, 1637 E Lawson St.: Duke community members continue to commemorate the holiday during a meal-packing event on Durham Tech’s campus. The event, which is now at capacity for volunteers, is co-sponsored by Duke’s Office of Durham & Regional Affairs. Volunteers will work to package 100,000 meals for the United Way of the Greater Triangle. Bus transportation will be available from Duke’s West Campus to Durham Tech. Seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis;  -- 1-2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), Lower Level Lecture Hall, 2400 Pratt St.: Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery, dean of Duke University Chapel and associate professor of homiletics at Duke Divinity School, will deliver the keynote lecture for DCRI’s annual MLK Celebration, titled “The Dreamer King,” with a musical performance by DCRI staff member Marian Jones-Richmond. Paid parking is available in the deck. The H2 Loop campus bus stops at PG3, which is located at North Pavilion. Watch a live webcast or archived video of the program here;

-- Noon Tuesday, Jan. 19, Rubenstein Library, Hosti-Anderson Family Assembly Room (153), West Campus: Jasmine Nichole Cobb, assistant professor in the Department of African and African American Studies, will share reflections on the Emancipation Proclamation and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A light lunch will be provided. Sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture. Visitors are encouraged to view the exhibitions on display in the Mary Duke Biddle Room, including a rare State Department copy of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation on loan from Duke Board of Trustees Chair David Rubenstein;

-- Through Feb. 28, “Take Note,” a curated exhibit of quilts by the African American Quilt Circle of Durham, Arts & Health Galleries, on the ground floor concourse, between Duke Hospital and the Duke Medicine Pavilion;Learn more about this year's commemoration, including an updated listing of events, at