ECU events celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Published 3:02 pm Tuesday, January 19, 2021

GREENVILLE – East Carolina University will host several events celebrating the life and continuing legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from Jan. 23-28. The events include:

  • Saturday, Jan. 23 – Day of Service projects
  • Monday, Jan. 25 – Diversity Dialogue Series, 3 p.m. (virtual)
  • Tuesday, Jan. 26 – MLK speaker Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, 6:30 p.m. (virtual)
  • Thursday, Jan. 28 – Celebrating Sycamore Hill, 4:30 p.m. (virtual and limited seating in person in the Main Campus Student Center Room 249)

National Day of Service — Saturday, Jan. 23

Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service — a “day on, not a day off.” Given the delayed start to the spring semester, ECU’s Day of Service will be Saturday, Jan. 23. Due to COVID-19 precautions, there will not be an opening ceremony to start the day of service.
The day of service provides an opportunity for ECU students, faculty and staff to spend the day serving others in our community. Due to safety and health concerns, the number of student volunteers will be limited during this day of service, which continues to embody the mission of King: “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

Students will go to multiple service sites in Greenville/Pitt County from 10 a.m. to noon.

The local MLK Day of Service is sponsored by ECU’s Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement and the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center.

Virtual keynote speaker: Michael Eric Dyson — Tuesday, Jan. 26, 6:30 p.m.

The North Carolina Cultural Center Consortium will present Michael Eric Dyson as the keynote speaker for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. virtual celebration Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 6:30 p.m.

Dyson is a best-selling author and one of the nation’s most renowned public intellectuals. He takes on the toughest and most controversial issues of the day, including race, politics and pop culture, with his fearless and fiery rhetoric.

An MSNBC political analyst and former host of NPR’s The Michael Eric Dyson Show, Dyson’s speeches and books provide some of the most significant commentary on modern social and intellectual thought today, interwoven with a combination of cultural criticism, race theory, religion, philosophical reflection and gender studies. Works such as “Making Malcolm X,” “I May Not Get There with You,” “Holler if You Hear Me,” and “Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye” deeply probe social themes and cultural politics.

A professor of sociology at Georgetown University, Dyson is a speaker that will never bore audiences; his presentations are thought-provoking, unwavering and foster social change. His excitement on the topics he speaks on — racial profiling and its impact on Black America, the sociology of hip-hop, and Dr. King for the 21st century, among others — is contagious.
Dyson bridges gaps between generations, connecting civil rights identity to hip-hop culture while forging links between older and younger Americans, especially black Americans. As a cutting-edge historian, he educates the general public on the significance of hip-hop, not only in understanding the Black community, but general American culture as well. With his powerful voice, Dyson reaches beyond race, addressing the universal commonality of American concern.

The event is free and open to the public.

For additional information about the MLK Day of Service, contact Alex Dennis, Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, at, 252-737-4988; or for Michael Eric Dyson, contact Shaun R. Simon, associate director, Ledonia Wright Cultural Center, at or 252-328-6495.