Northwestern's weeklong commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began Jan. 18, as the University suspended classes on the Evanston and Chicago campuses for a University-wide, full-day observance of the holiday honoring the late civil and human rights leader.

That evening, Nicholas A. Pearce, an ordained minister, Northwestern alumnus and Kellogg professor, spoke at the Alpha Mu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Candlelight Vigil at Alice Millar Chapel.

Pearce '10 MS, '12 PhD is clinical assistant professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management and assistant pastor of the historic Apostolic Church of God on Chicago’s South Side. At Kellogg, Pearce conducts research examining values-driven leadership, diversity and inclusion, collaboration and change in organizations around the world.

On Jan. 25, legendary civil rights and peace activist Diane Nash will deliver a keynote address at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall to conclude Northwestern's 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration. The 6 p.m. program also will feature music and performances by Northwestern student groups. At noon that same day, Nash will address faculty, staff and students on the Chicago campus. Both events are free and open to the public.

Nash became involved in the nonviolent civil rights movement in 1959 in Tennessee, when she was a college student in Nashville. Nash, a Chicago native who had never experienced segregation in public accommodations prior to moving to the South, went on to become one of the civil rights movement’s pioneers. She was a leader and strategist of the student wing of the 1960s civil rights movement. Her campaigns were among the most successful of the era. In 1960, Nash became the chairperson of the Fisk University student sit-in movement in Nashville, the first southern city to desegregate its lunch counters.


In 1961, Nash coordinated the Freedom Ride from Birmingham, Ala., to Jackson, Miss. She also played a key role in bringing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Montgomery, Ala., on May 21 of that year in support of the Freedom Riders. That memorable journey was documented in the recent PBS American Experience film “Freedom Riders.”


For a complete list of this year's Northwestern events commemorating the life of Dr. King, please go to the Northwestern News Center.