Goshen College focuses on role of faith in the civil rights movement during MLK Study Day


Voices-n-Harmony Gospel Choir


Dr. Quinton Dixie


Manuel Luis Martinez

GOSHEN, Ind. – During Goshen College’s 18th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Study Day on Monday, Jan. 17, the life and legacy of Dr. King will be celebrated through music, poetry, prayer, art, story-telling and a discussion about race. In particular, the role of faith in the civil rights movement will be at the heart of the day’s agenda, which has a theme of “Christ, Hope and Survival.” As the college cancels daytime classes so that students can participate fully in the events, the public is also invited.

How do you connect faith with personal actions? In conjunction with this year’s theme, join the “40 Days of Peace” initiative beginning on January 17, 2011.

“Martin Luther King was anointed with the gift to lead with the head, the heart and hands. He was an intellectual who discerned the urgency of the times and was strategically positioned to lead a movement that changed the course of American history. His example of combining faith with action has provided the legacy that we celebrate on this day,” said Odelet Nance, director of the college’s Multicultural Affairs Office. “It is my hope that on this MLK Day we will be inspired and propelled to merge our faith with social justice action.”

Read about Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to Goshen College on March 10, 1960.

The featured guests for the day are African-American religious historian Dr. Quinton Dixie and Latino fiction writer Manuel Luis Martinez. Goshen College students will also perform throughout the day, including the college’s Voices-n-Harmony Gospel Choir.

Dixie is assistant professor of philosophy at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. His areas of interest include African-American religious history, religion and labor, hip-hop and spirituality and the civil rights movement. Dixie collaborated with award-winning author Cornell West on a collection of essays, The Courage of Hope: From Black Suffering to Human Redemption. He also partnered with journalist Juan Williams on the 2003 PBS documentary, “This Far by Faith,” and the companion volume: This Far by Faith: Stories from the African American Religious Experience.

Martinez is a writer and professor of American and Chicano literature at Ohio State University. His most recent novel, Day of the Dead (2009), explores the forces of violence behind the quest for redemption. His second novel, Drift,crackles with the authenticity of lived experience,” according to The Washington Post Book World, and was selected by the American Library Association as one of the 100 Best Books of the Year in 2004. His first novel, Crossing (1998), is based on the true story of immigrants smuggled from Mexico to the United States in a locked railroad car, and was chosen as one of 10 outstanding books by PEN American Center in New York.

The 2011 Goshen College Martin Luther King Jr. Study Day schedule for Jan. 17:

7 a.m., Community Prayer Breakfast, Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall
Presentation by Quinton Dixie, music by Voices-n-Harmony and prayers from local pastors. Cost is $18 per ticket/$144 per table. Make reservations by Jan. 6. Call (574) 535-7565.

9 a.m., “Christ, Hope and Survival” Spoken-Word Coffeehouse, Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall
Features GC students and local community members in a program of poetry, readings and storytelling.

10 a.m., Convocation, part 1, Church-Chapel
Dr. Quinton Dixie, Manuel Luis Martinez and Voices-n-Harmony Gospel Choir

11 a.m., Convocation, part 2, Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall
Dr. Quinton Dixie and GC students will lead a discussion about race

12:30 p.m., Lunch, GC Dining Hall
A video of MLK speeches will be shown during the meal.

1 p.m., Public reading, Newcomer Center Room 19
The students who participated in Manuel Martinez’s fiction workshop will have a public reading of their work.

All day there will be an exhibit of student artwork on display reflecting the spirit of Dr. King in the south hallway by the Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall.

Martinez will be offering a fiction workshop for students throughout the prior weekend, culminating with a public reading on Sunday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. in the college’s Newcomer Center Room 19. Read more about this event.

Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or request a photo, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or jodihb@goshen.edu.

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Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S. News & World Report‘s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit www.goshen.edu.

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