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MLK Day at Duke 2024

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Highlights from MLK Weekend on campus

This MLK Day weekend, the Duke community celebrated the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. From Duke Chapel to K-Ville, Blue Devils gathered to remember, honor, and enact the values that Dr. King championed throughout his life.

This year’s events demonstrate how deeply Dr. King’s message continues to resonate with the Duke family. Here are a few highlights from this past weekend.

Duke Centennial Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration

On Sunday, Blue Devils packed into Duke Chapel for the Duke Centennial Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration, featuring keynote remarks from Duke alumnus and Board of Trustees member Grant Hill (’94). Addressing a full house, Hill encouraged attendees to embrace Dr. King’s commitment to justice and inclusion. “When we heed Dr. King’s calls for compassion and conscience,” he noted, “more of us will reap the rewards of loyalty and community.”

In his own remarks, Duke President Vincent Price recalled Dr. King’s words at Page Auditorium in 1964, when Dr. King urged the Durham crowd to consider whether “real progress was being made in the struggle to make the brotherhood of man a reality in our country.” Dr. King’s values, Price said, will be instrumental in guiding Duke as the university begins its second century.

The event featured additional remarks from Mayor of Durham Leonardo Williams; Mary E. Klotman, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the Duke School of Medicine; Celeste Clark (’25), President of the Black Student Alliance; and Harvey Allen III (M ’25), President of the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association.

Learn more about the entire celebration via Duke Today and The Chronicle. You can also watch the entire service here:

MLK Day of Service

On Monday, Duke’s Office of Durham and Community Affairs and Duke University Health System (DUHS) partnered with local organizations to package meals for distribution in Durham, Orange, Wake, and Johnston counties. The volunteer project united students and community members for a reminder that a commitment to justice must be embodied in compassionate action.

Duke Athletics MLK Unity Rally

Six people stand in front of a podium with the Duke Athletics logo on the front of it. The podium is outside near K-Ville for the Duke Athletics Unity Rally
Photo: Duke Athletics on X

Out in K-Ville, Duke Athletics hosted their fourth annual MLK Unity Rally for student-athletes and the greater Duke community. The event featured remarks from Director of Mental Health and Performance Dr. Aaron Goodson, Adjunct Professor Mary D. Williams, and student athletes Sydney Smith (women’s lacrosse) and Placide Djungu-Sungu (football).

MLK Sr.’s Legacy at Duke Chapel

This week, Duke Chapel opened their archives to spotlight two sermons delivered from the pulpit by Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr.

Reflecting on his son’s legacy in 1977, Rev. King reminded the Duke audience that “he did so much for us… in helping us to get rid of much of the evils that we suffered with, and made it possible through his leadership that we might sit down at the table together as brothers.”

Listen to more of the sermon on Duke Chapel’s Instagram. You can also use Duke Chapel’s Living Tradition database to learn more about the rich history of multi-faith preaching and practice at Duke.

Register to vote!

Dr. King and his contemporaries fought to secure and expand voting rights across America. Decades later, many people consider participating in the democratic process to be a fundamental way of honoring Dr. King’s work.

To learn more about the registration process, whether you’re registering in North Carolina or in your home state, please visit Duke Votes. This non-partisan, student-led organization aims to register, educate, and mobilize the Duke community to vote. You may even want to get involved in the cause yourself!