CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s 41st annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration will take place during the next month with a series of events on the Corvallis campus, including a day of service, peace breakfast, march and keynote address by higher education leader and writer Jelani Cobb.
The peace breakfast will take place at 9 a.m. Jan. 16 in the CH2M HILL Alumni Center on the Corvallis campus and the march, which is open to the public, will immediately follow. The breakfast is open to OSU students and employees, OSU Foundation and Alumni Association employees and invited guests. Registration is free. Registration is not required to participate in the march.
The day of service will occur at locations throughout the Corvallis area on Jan. 14. The week of Jan. 16 also will feature educational programming on the Corvallis campus that explores King’s ongoing legacy.
Cobb is a staff writer at The New Yorker who writes on race, history, justice, politics and democracy and Columbia University’s Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism and dean of the Columbia Journalism School. He will speak at 7 p.m. Feb. 1 at the La Sells Stewart Center on the Corvallis campus. The talk is free to attend and open to the public; registration is required by Jan. 27. The speech will also be livestreamed.
Cobb recently co-edited “The Matter of Black Lives,” a collection of The New Yorker's most ground-breaking writing on Black history and culture in America, featuring the work of legendary writers like James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. He also has written books about Barack Obama and the hip-hop aesthetic.
“Dr. Cobb is one of the country’s leading thinkers and writers on race, justice and democracy,” said Scott Vignos, vice president and chief diversity officer at Oregon State. “His call to collectively create a more critically engaged society resonates deeply at OSU. We’re excited to welcome him to Corvallis to engage with students and community members as part of this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration.”
The 2023 Martin Luther King Jr. activities mark an important change in the event’s name, from a “celebration” to a “commemoration.” The King Center, the organization founded by Coretta Scott King to carry forward King’s philosophy of non-violent social change, has requested that observances of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day be framed as commemorations, rather than celebrations, to recognize the ongoing struggle for civil rights.
Oregon State’s Office of Institutional Diversity is hosting the commemoration with support from the OSU Foundation and Alumni Association.