20th Anniversary Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Planned at Taylor

By Jim Garringer Published: Jan 12, 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The 20th anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at Taylor University will take place Monday, January 16. The event will include speakers, music, workshops and the suspension of regular classes for the day as the entire university community is encouraged to participate in a day of learning and fellowship.

Taylor’s first observance of the King federal holiday was in 1992, five years after the institution of the federal holiday, and was a result of the work of Taylor students and faculty members. Each year Taylor officials have suspended the regular class schedule for the shortened January Interterm and encouraged the entire university and surrounding community to participate in a day of learning and fellowship. During the past 20 years, numerous civil rights era speakers have journeyed to Upland to tell their stories of Dr. King and the work he began.

One of this year’s featured speakers is Dr. Michael Hammond, a 1992 Taylor University graduate and one of the student senators who introduced the King Day observance to Taylor’s faculty. Hammond is now an assistant professor of history at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla. He holds degrees from Taylor, Wheaton College and the University of Arkansas, and his primary research interests are American Christianity, civil rights, and American political movements. 

Taylor’s Dean of the School of Liberal Arts, Dr. Tom Jones, will also speak from the vantage point of a faculty member who was instrumental in the event’s institution. Jones, an associate professor of history, has also been named Taylor’s Distinguished Professor of the Year twice. His special areas of scholarship include American political and diplomatic history and social studies education. He has also served as pastor of Center Christian Church for more than 35 years.

Additional attractions for the day include Taylor’s Gospel Choir during the 10:00 a.m. chapel hour, afternoon class sessions taught by Taylor faculty members centered on civil rights issues and the legacy of Dr. King, and a tribute to legendary performer Duke Ellington during an evening concert by the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra.

The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra (IJO) is Indiana’s premier professional repertory big band jazz ensemble and is composed of leading professional jazz musicians and vocalists from Central Indiana. The IJO has played in venues that include the Indiana State Museum, Indiana Roof Ballroom, Paramount Theatre in Anderson, the Foellinger Theater in Fort Wayne, and the Honeywell Performing Arts Center in Wabash. The IJO is directed by Taylor adjunct faculty member Jeff Anderson.

The classroom offerings include case studies of women in the civil rights movement, the life of Duke Ellington, racial relations, and pacifism. All events are open to the public.



Select Students, Dr. Messer, Dr. Hammond, Dr. Jones

Location: Rediger Chapel Auditorium

Time: 10 am


Workshops – Session #1 

1 and 2 pm


Women and the Civil Rights Movement:  Three Case Studies from 1962

Taught by Dr. Steve Messer

Location: Ayres 215

Times: 1 – 1:50, and 2 – 2:50


Duke Ellington: The Life and Evolution of a Jazz Musician

Taught by Dr. Al Harrison

Location: Smith-Hermanson 148

Times: 1 – 1:50, and 2 – 2:50


 5 Things You Ought to Know about the Civil Rights Movement

Taught by Dr. Mike Hammond

Location: Modelle Metcalf 002

Times: 1 – 1:50, and 2 – 2:50


Leadership in a Global Society: Battlefields, Communities, and Culture

Taught by Drew Moser

Location: Modelle Metcalf 005

Times:  1- 1:50, and 2 – 2:50


Workshops – Session #2

3 pm and 4 pm


Why Should Race Matter To Me, I’m White!: The Journey of White Identity Formation  

Taught by Professors Jody and Rukshan Fernando

Location:Modelle Metcalf 002

Times: 3 – 3:50, and 4 – 4:50


Mathematics as a Civil Right: The story of Robert P. Moses

Taught by Dr. Jeremy Case

Location: Rupp 203/205

Times: 3 – 3:50, and 4 – 4:50


Punishment or Forgiveness? Are There Conflicts in a Christian Approach to Justice and International Peacemaking?

Taught by Dr. Kevin Diller

Location: Ayres 215

Times: 3 – 3:50, and 4 – 4:50



Taught by Dr. David L. Neuhouser     

Location: Rupp 104

Times: 3 – 3:50, and 4 – 4:50


Voice of Calvary and the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King

Taught by Dr. Hadley Mitchell

Location: Modelle Metcalf 005

Times: 3 – 3:50, and 4 – 4:50


Evening Concert


The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra performs “A tribute to Duke Ellington”

Location: Rediger Chapel Auditorium

Time:  7:30 pm

Cost: Free to Taylor students, faculty and staff, and TU families with ID

$5 for students and $8 for community members