Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday celebrations are held annually on the third Monday of January, following his birthday on January 15th. The 2023 holiday is Monday, January 16th. The Class of 1994 Office of Inclusion and Engagement would like to extend a special thanks to the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, The Institute for Honor, the Washington and Lee University School of Law, The Division of Student Affairs, Student Activities, History Department, and Virginia Military Institute's Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for their support of this week's events.

*Most events are open to the public with limited seating. Check event description for more information.*

2023 Schedule of Events

Sunday, January 15

SABU Basketball Tournament

3:00pm - Doremus Gym

Team Registration Required - Click here!

On January 15th, 2023 the Student Association for Black Unity will be hosting its annual Martin Luther King Day Basketball Tournament. This three on three tournament allows the community to come together for some friendly competition while raising money for charity. Teams of 3-4 players, $10 per player to register (i.e. the cost to enter a team of three is $30). We will be accepting registrations up to the day on the competition. The winning team will also take home the grand prize of $100 Nike gift cards for each member of the team! All proceeds will help SABU put on the BlackFLEX Conference and Black Ball on Feb. 4th!

MLK Keynote Speaker - Ben Crump

6:00pm - Lenfest Center for the Arts / Zoom - RSVP Required
Reception and Book Signing After Keynote

Reserve Your In-Person Ticket- Click here!

Register for the Zoom Webinar - Click here!

W&L will host Ben Crump as he presents his remarks as our featured speaker for our 2023 MLK Week. Ben Crump will be presenting a talk on the theme of "A Testament of Hope." Join us in the Lenfest Center for the Arts or on Zoom webinar on Sunday, January 15th at 6pm. Stay after the event for a book signing with Ben Crump. Through a steadfast dedication to justice and service, renowned civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump has established himself as one of the nation’s foremost lawyers and advocates for social justice, earning the nickname “Black America’s Attorney General”. His legal acumen has ensured that those marginalized in American society are protected by their nation’s contract with its constituency. He is the founder and principal owner of Ben Crump Law.

Crump’s tireless advocacy has led to legislation preventing excessive force and developing implicit bias training and policies. He has been nationally recognized as the 2014 NNPA Newsmaker of the Year, The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers, and Ebony Magazine Power 100 Most Influential African Americans. In 2016, he was designated as an Honorary Fellow by the University of Pennsylvania College of Law.

He has represented families in several high-profile civil rights cases including Trayvon Martin, who was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida, in 2012; Michael Brown, who was killed by a law enforcement officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014; Stephon Clark, who was killed by police officers in Sacramento, California, in 2018; as well as the residents of Flint, Michigan, who were affected by the poisoned water of the Flint River. Crump represented 9 of the 13 black women who were victims in the Holtzclaw Oklahoma City Police rape case in 2015 and worked on the precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court case involving excessive police force against Robbie Tolan in 2008.

Crump is the President of the National Civil Rights Trial Lawyers Association and previously served as President of the National Bar Association. He was the first African-American to chair the Florida State University College of Law Board of Directors and currently serves on the Innocence Project Board of Directors. He is the founder and director of the Benjamin Crump Social Justice Institute.

Among dozens of accomplishments, Attorney Crump has been recognized with the NAACP Thurgood Marshall Award, the SCLC Martin Luther King Servant Leader Award, the American Association for Justice Johnnie Cochran Award, and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Eleanor Roosevelt Medallion for Service.

The new documentary CIVIL, from Netflix and director Nadia Hallgren, follows Crump for one year between 2020-2021 on his journey to justice and pulls back the curtain on his life as a family man and civil rights leader. He also hosted the critically acclaimed legal docudramas Evidence of Innocence on TVOne and Who Killed Tupac: The Search For Justice on A&E, and served as executive producer of the documentary Woman in Motion, about Nichelle Nichols, one of the first African-American TV actresses. He is a frequent contributor to Huffington Post Black Voices, CNN, and USA Today.

Crump’s book, published in October 2019, “Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People,” reflects on the landmark cases he has battled, and how discrimination in the courthouse devastates real families and communities.

Monday, January 16

Children's Celebration in Honor of Dr. King's Birthday

11:00am - 1:00pm - Evans Dining Hall

Children of the Lexington and Rockbridge County community are invited to attend a birthday celebration in honor of Dr. King. There will be games, face painting, and arts and crafts. As part of of the celebration, we will be making doggy treat to donate to the SPCA. Cake, snacks, and punch will be provided.

Martin Luther King Day Tea Ceremonies

1:00pm, 1:45pm, and 2:30pm - W&L Tea Room

Registration Required - Click here!

Join the W&L Tea Society in honoring the legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King on Monday January 16, 2023 with a tea ceremony demonstration. There are three 30-minute sessions limited to 20 participants each. Registration is required for this event. Please fill out a separate registration entry for each member of your party. Since seating is limited to 20 participants per session and there is no automated wait list, be sure to cancel your reservation if your plans change. In the past, registered participants did not show up and prevented others from attending. Thank you! For more information contact: Professor Janet Ikeda ikedaj@wlu.edu

You can follow tea activities at: http://tearoom.wlu.edu, Facebook Chanoyu Tea Society of Washington & Lee University and Instagram @WLUtearoom.

Corresponding with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

3:30pm - 4:30pm - Harte Center (Leyburn Library 1st Floor)


Join SHP as Tom Camden, Director of W&L Special Collections, presents various artifacts and letters from the 1960s, including a letter signed by Dr. King.

Tuesday, January 17

MLK Day: Building Resilience Through Healing

6:00pm - 7:00pm - Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library

Dr. Martin Luther King said, “As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation- either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” The words of Dr. King spur us respond to pain with creative healing. Guided by staff from University Counseling, the Building Resilience Through Healing event offers a path towards healing and reconnection with community.

The University Counseling Center will host a discussion about healing from a traumatic event. Join us in this safe space as we move through the healing process of acknowledgement, and reconnection. Let's HEAL TOGETHER. If you plan to participate, please bring a photo to represent the event you would like to acknowledge and heal from.

Wednesday, January 18

Reflections on the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. / MLK Reflections

6:00pm - 8:00pm - Evans Dining Hall - RSVP Required

Please RSVP for the MLK Reflections Dinner - Click here!

The MLK Reflections event allows community members to gather to reflect on the lessons of Dr. King's life and work. Each year we invite a range of leaders from both our campus community and our Lexington community to participate to offer a brief commentary on their view of Dr. King's legacy, what Dr. King has meant to that individual, or to our community, or to our country or our world or our students...the possibilities are endless. This event is open to the public, and a meal will be provided.

Friday, January 20

MLK Shabbat

6:00pm - Hillel House

Registration Required - Click here!

W&L Hillel and the Class of 1994 Office of Inclusion and Engagement invite all members of the W&L and Lexington community to join us for a Shabbat dinner and service honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We will gather at 6pm in the Hillel Sanctuary. Seating is limited so please register in advance at the link below.

Saturday, January 21

African Society Fashion Show and Dance

7:00pm - Evans Hall

On January 21st, 2023, at 7pm, W&L's African Society will be hosting their annual African Society Fashion Show and Dance. Come see fashion from all around the continent of Africa and enjoy African inspired dances.

View images from past W&L Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations