Williams College Holds Two-Day Celebration for Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jan 15, 2013

A two-day series of events commemorating the life and message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was held at Williams College.

On the Williams College campus, programs were held throughout Sunday and Monday paying tribute to Dr. King. Ranging from a documentary film screening, lectures, a gallery exhibition, and a presentation with local school children, students, faculty and the public took the time to remember and reflect the actions of those in the civil rights era.

Photographs by Benedict J. Fernandez on display at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.
Credit Lucas Willard / WAMC

Taj Smith, an Assistant Director at the Davis Center at Williams College, organized the events for the MLK 2013 festival. Smith said the diversity of the programs is important for communicating Martin Luther King’s messages to a wider audience.

One of the programs was a photography exhibition at the Williams College Museum of Art. The photographs of Dr. King on display were taken by Benedict J. Fernandez as part of his historic Countdown to Eternity Series – documenting the final year of King’s life. Maurita Poole is the Mellon Curatorial Fellow at the museum.

After taking time to view the photos attendees discussed the impact of King’s life and death on their own lives, expressing feelings of fear, freedom, and hope.

Also in the day’s events was a public lecture by Hendrick Smith, a documentary filmmaker and former reporter for the New York Times. He discussed how the civil rights movement, and subsequent movements including the consumer, environmental, and anti-war movements play a role in modern American life. Smith spoke to WAMC after his lecture…

Williams student Teddy Cohan attended Hendrick Smith’s lecture. Afterward Cohan said he felt empowered by listening to Smith discuss the achievements of American activists throughout history.

And organizer Taj Smith says that he hopes to continue the MLK celebration next year.

The two-day MLK 2013 festival concludes Monday night with a special film screening. All events were free and open to the public.