Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture Series

Beginning with the Rosa Parks Lecture on Social Justice and Activism in 2007 and annually since 2009 with the Martin Luther King Lecture Series, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion honors these individuals’ tremendous contributions to furthering civil rights by brining national thought leaders to campus, who provide insight and advocacy to current civil rights issues of education, economic and justice system inequalities.

Our goal through this lecture series is to encourage UMKC students, staff, faculty and the Kansas City community to build upon the courageous, non-violent activism of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., and to increase awareness of present day avenues to advocate for civil rights through free thought, action and scholarship.

Pictured above: Moneta Sleet, Jr., ‘Rosa Parks, Dr. and Mrs. Abernathy, Dr. Ralph Bunche, and Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King, Jr. leading marchers into Montgomery,’ 1965, printed circa 1970. (© Johnson Publishing Company, LLC)

MLK Lecture Marc Lamont Hill2017: Sister Souljah

Sister Souljah is a hip-hop generation best-selling author, activist, recording artist and film producer. A graduate of Rutgers University, she earned a degree in American History and African Studies. She also attended the Cornel University Advanced Placement Study program and studied abroad in Europe at the University of Salamanca.
In 1995 Sister Souljah was selected by Sean P. Diddy Combs to become the Executive Director of his charitable organization, Daddy’s House Social programs, and was under her direction for seven years.
Souljah was the young voice in NY radio that spoke to the hip-hop audience about politics, culture, business and social organization. This includes being a speaker at the Million Woman March, appearances on Oprah Winfrey, Larry King Live, and the cover of Newsweek Magazine. As a Hip-Hop artist, Souljah’s CD entitled “360 degrees of Power,” sparked international debate of issues of race, culture, sexism and politics.
Today, Souljah is the author of 5 national best sellers. In 2007 she became a New York times Best Selling Author and has since charted the top ten of the NYT list three times over. She has penned The Coldest Winter Ever (fiction), Midnight, a Gangsters Love Story (fiction), A Deeper Love Inside; The Porsche Santiaga Story (fiction), NO DISRESPECT (non-fiction), all best sellers. Her latest work was released November 2015 and is titled A Moment of Silence, MIDNIGHT III.

Sister Souljah will be at UMKC on January 24, 2017. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required, and can be found here.
MLK Lecture Marc Lamont Hill2016: Marc Lamont Hill

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill is one of the leading hip-hop generation intellectuals in the country. His work, which covers topics such as culture, politics, and education, has appeared in numerous journals, magazines, books, and anthologies.

View the 8th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. lecture here.
Baldemar Nikki Giovanni2015: Nikki Giovanni

Distinguished poet, author and essayist, whose fought for civil rights and equality since her debut in the 1960s Black Arts Movement.

View the 7th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. lecture here.
Melissa Harris-Perry2014: Melissa Harris-Perry

Author, host of MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry”, founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South.
Michael Eric Dyson2013: Michael Eric Dyson

Public intellectual, best-selling author, three time NAACP Award Winner.
Michelle Alexander2012: Michelle Alexander

Highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer and legal scholar, leader of the Driving While Black Campaign, and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
Henry Louis Gates Jr.2011: Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard.
Angela Davis2010: Angela Davis

Educator, author and advocate for social justice regarding poverty and race discrimination.
Cornel West2009: Cornel West

American philosopher, academic, activist, author, public intellectual and prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Rosa Parks Lecturers

Morris Dees2009: Morris Dees

Co-founder and Chief Trail Counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center known for his innovative lawsuits that crippled white supremacist hate groups; Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Awardee from the National Education Association and The Salem Award recipient for Human Rights and Social Justice.
Jonathan Kozol2008: Jonathan Kozol

Advocate for educational equality known as the National Book Award-winning author of Savage Inequalities, Death at an Early Age, The Shame of the Nation, Amazing Grace, and Fire in the Ashes among others.
Lani Guinier2007: Lani Guinier

Civil rights theorist known for her publications suggesting various ideas to strengthen minority groups’ voting power, Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and President Bill Clinton’s nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in 1993