MLK Day events feature live Motown Music, Commissioner Israel L. Gaither

By Meredith Sell Published: Jan 16, 2014

Image by © Flip Schulke/CORBIS

Taylor University’s annual celebration of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday will take place Monday, January 20. The day’s events begin and end in Rediger Chapel/Auditorium with a chapel service at 10 a.m. and live concert at 7:30 p.m.

The chapel service will feature Commissioner Israel L. Gaither, the first African-American Chief of Staff for the Salvation Army, as speaker, and a performance by the Taylor University Gospel Choir. The day concludes with Legends of Motown and More, a concert featuring the six-member professional ensemble Horizon. Horizon will also present a forum on “The Impact of Motown Music in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s” in Rediger at 2 p.m., moderated by Chair of the Music Department, Dr. Al Harrison.

Other afternoon workshops covering a variety of topics, from the 1964 Freedom Summer to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, will take place across campus at 2 and 3 p.m. Classes are suspended and Taylor’s students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take part in a day of common learning and celebration of the legacy of Dr. King.

All events are free and open to the public, except the evening concert, which is $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors from the general public, and free to Taylor faculty, staff and students.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day programs are sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Programs (OIP) and the Music Department at Taylor University. Please contact Cecilia Macias ( for more information.

Schedule of Events

10 a.m. CHAPEL: Commissioner Israel L. Gaither

Commissioner Israel L. Gaither was ordained and commissioned as an Officer from the Army’s School for Officer Training in June, 1964 in New York City. He has served more than 47 years as a Salvation Army Officer, holding leadership positions at both the USA National Headquarters in Alexandra, Virginia and International Headquarters, London, and United Kingdom where Commissioner Gaither served as the first African American Chief of the Staff since the founding of the Army in 1865.

Location: Rediger Chapel/Auditorium

2 & 3 p.m. Meaning + Communication = Connection

This workshop explores how Dr. King used meaning and communication to establish connection. Through critical analysis and lively group discussion we will uncover layers of meaning associated with the historical period and present day. Come and gain a deeper understanding of Dr. King’s speech, examine the power of effective oration, and discuss ways the Christian scholar can apply the messages and meanings of Dr. King’s speech to rich interpersonal relationships.
Dr. Linda Manganello, Ms. Claire Romanowski, & Mr. Cameron Boehning
Location: Euler 108

2 & 3 p.m. Voices of Courage from Freedom Summer
Fifty years ago during the summer of 1964, the eyes of the nation were focused on Freedom Summer in Mississippi. This major campaign in the Civil Rights Movement confronted systematic discrimination against African Americans in terms of disfranchisement, unequal access to public facilities, and lack of adequate educational opportunities and decent health care. Approximately 1000 college students from the North joined activists from SNCC, CORE, and the NAACP and the local people of Mississippi in this effort. In this presentation, we will listen to the voices of these courageous women and men who risked their lives to challenge America to live up to its ideals.
Dr. Steve Messer
Location: Euler 100

2 & 3 p.m. MLK = “I hate being white day?”
Exploring white guilt in light of Martin Luther King’s legacy.
Days like Martin Luther King Jr. Day elicit many emotions, including white guilt. This session will explore the issue of white guilt, what to do with it, and how white students can truly celebrate a day like Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Dr. Drew Moser
Location: Euler 109

2 p.m. "Motown Music and its Significance to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's"

Featuring The Legends of Motown performing group

What is Motown Music? How did Motown connect to the Civil Rights Movement? Can cultural music continue to contribute towards fostering the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for racial harmony and equality? Come to this workshop and find out!
Dr. Albert Harrison

Location: Rediger Chapel/Auditorium

2 & 3 p.m. Standing in the Gap: Student Voices in Reconciliation
This documentary features the perspective of Christian College students as they face the challenges of diversity in Higher Education. In this film, students share what it is like to step up to the challenge of speaking out, engaging the student body and faculty regarding the need for heightened awareness, and ultimately they share their ongoing process of building a biblical world view while facing these challenges. This film seeks to move us into a dialogue and to obey the biblical mandate to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly” (Micah 6:8).
Cecilia Macias
Location: Euler 130

7:30 p.m. Legends of Motown and More Live Performance

Complimentary tickets for TU faculty, staff, and students with TU ID

General public: $10 adults/$5 students & seniors at the door

Dr. Albert Harrison

Location: Rediger Chapel/Auditorium