Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration, other events planned for Rolla area

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On January 6, 2006

The African American Cultural Recognition Committee at the University of Missouri-Rolla will sponsor or co-sponsor several local events in the coming months to celebrate diversity and promote cultural awareness. All events are open to the public.

A Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration service will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, at the Christ Episcopal Church, 10th and Main streets in Rolla. Marshall Rose, director of equity and diversity at Bowling Green State University, will speak.

At 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, Rose will speak again at the Havener Center on the UMR campus, presenting “Rekindling Rosa Parks’ Spirit: She Sat Down That We May Stand.”

The Rolla area branch of the NAACP will hold its 17th annual awards banquet at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, in the St. Pat’s ballroom of UMR’s Havener Center. Robin Carnahan, Missouri Secretary of State, will speak. The NAACP will award “Yes I Can” scholarships to UMR African-American students at the event, and a member of the community will be presented with a “Yes I Can” award in recognition of demonstrated courage in the face of adversity. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Rolla branch of the NAACP at (573) 368-4616 or Anastasia Smith, banquet co-chair, at (573) 647-9027. Ticket prices, which include food and entertainment, are $30 for adults.

Christ Episcopal Church in Rolla will host Absalom Jones Sunday services at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 12. Absalom Jones was the first African-American Episcopal priest. Dr. Lawrence O. Christensen, Emeritus Curator’s Professor of history at UMR, will speak at both services. For more information, contact Father Michael Hardwick at or call (573) 364-1499.

The Association of Black Students at UMR will host a Dinner to Jazz concert and banquet at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, in the Havener Center on campus. This event will be held in conjunction with the student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers’ pre-college initiative at UMR. For ticket information, email

The UMR student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and AACRC will hold an annual oratorical contest in conjunction with Dinner to Jazz on Saturday, Feb. 25, on campus. The contest is open to high school students in Missouri and bordering states. For more information, contact Daniel Edwards at (573) 341-8900 or Donte’ Bennett at (573) 341-9274.

Student artwork celebrating African-American heritage, history and culture will be on display at UMR’s Havener Center during February as part of the annual Leila Thompson Flagg Art Contest. The contest is open to elementary, middle and junior high school students between the ages of nine and 15. For more information on the contest, contact Lawrence George, assistant to the chancellor for affirmative action at UMR, at (573) 341-6314 or email

Affirmative action specialist Shirley J. Wilcher will explore issues that affect the acceptance and appreciation of people in a lecture 3 p.m. Thursday, March 23, in the Havener Center on the UMR campus. Wilcher will present “Insight into Problems and Actions Facing America: Affirmative Action, Diversity and Civil Rights,” drawing on more than 20 years of experience in the area of equal opportunity and affirmative action. For more information on the event, contact Lawrence George at (573) 341-6314 or email

The video series on “Race, the Power of Illusion” will be shown each month in the Havener Center on the UMR campus. All videos will begin at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., beginning with “Episode One: The Difference Between Us” on Jan. 25. “Episode Two: The Story We Tell” will be shown Feb. 22, followed April 12 by “Episode Three: The House We Live In.”

Several other events are also being planned in conjunction with African American Heritage Month. Click here to view a PDF of the AACRC’s brochure.

For more information on these events, contact Lawrence George at (573) 341-6314 or email

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On January 6, 2006. Posted in Events