Civil rights activist Vincent Harding highlights 12th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Study Day Jan. 17

GOSHEN, Ind. – Goshen College will honor the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. by holding its 12th annual all-school Martin Luther King Jr. Study Day, emphasizing the values and ideals that characterized King’s work. On Monday, Jan. 17, the college welcomes Dr. Vincent Harding, a distinguished veteran of the civil rights movement and associate of Martin Luther King Jr.

In the 2005 Martin Luther King Jr. Day keynote address at 10 a.m. in the Church-Chapel, Harding will speak on “A King for the 21st Century,” and will also lead an afternoon workshop. Performing during the convocation will be Voices-n-Harmony Choir, Goshen College’s Gospel choir directed by Patrice Penny Henderson of Elkhart, Ind. The choir includes Goshen College students, faculty, staff and community members from a diverse mix of cultural backgrounds and ages who sing to proclaim the power of God’s love. The community is invited to attend the convocation free of charge.

Harding has committed his life and work to peace and justice advocacy and scholarship. Active in the civil rights movement, he was an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and served as the senior academic consultant to the award-winning PBS series “Eyes on the Prize.” He was also the first director of the Martin Luther King Memorial Center in Atlanta. Most recently, he served 23 years as Professor of Religion and Social Transformation at Iliff School of Theology, Denver, Colo., and he is co-chair of the Veterans of Hope Project: A Center for the Study of Religion and Democratic Renewal, in Denver. With his wife, the late Rosemarie Freeney Harding, a 1955 Goshen College graduate, Harding led Mennonite Central Committee’s first Voluntary Service unit in Atlanta, Ga., during the civil rights era. He earned a doctorate in history from the University of Chicago in 1965, and has taught at Spelman College, Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania. His books include “Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero” (1996).

Harding will also speak at 7:30 a.m. during the Community Prayer Breakfast in the Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall. Advance registration required; tickets for the breakfast are $15 per person or $120 for a table of eight and must be reserved by Jan. 10. For more information about the prayer breakfast, or to reserve a seat or table, call the Welcome Center (574) 535-7566.

Goshen College Associate Professor of History Steve Nolt, chair of the college’s Martin Luther King Jr. Study Day Committee, said, “Martin Luther King Day is an important time for us to consider together the connections between action and reflection, campus and community, faith and faithfulness. I am excited about the opportunity we will have to interact with Dr. Harding, given his commitment to integrating nonviolence, antiracism and Christian conviction in a spirit of contagious hope.”

Goshen College is offering activities related to Martin Luther King Jr. Day for children in grades 2-6. Children can attend a video with interviews of people who participated in the Selma to Montgomery March as youth; workshops about drumming, games, art, dance, drama, stories and music and more; plus a time to share what was learned. The activities will be from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and pre-registration is required. For more information, contact Plowshares Librarian Anne Meyer Byler at (574) 533-1996.

Afternoon workshops, led by student clubs and Harding, will focus on translating the ideals of Martin Luther King Day into practice. Seminar topics include civil rights, interracial relationships, nonviolence training, celebrating cultures, Catholic social teaching and contemporary women’s issues.

The complete Martin Luther King Jr. Study Day schedule follows:

7:15 a.m. – Community Prayer Breakfast, Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall; sponsored by Goshen College, Goshen Health System and Goshen Ministerial Association.

  • Speaker – Vincent Harding
  • Music – Goshen College Voices-n-Harmony

9 a.m. – Opening film: “Veterans of Hope,”Church-Chapel

  • Video interviews, hosted by Vincent Harding with civil rights activists, on how their faith inspired them in the quest for justice.

9 a.m.-12:15 p.m., – MLK Kids’ Day activities

  • Activities for children in grades 2-6 are being offered, including a civil rights video and music, drama and art workshops. For more information and to pre-register, which is required, contact Anne Meyer Byler, Plowshare’s librarian, at (574) 533-1996.

10 a.m. – Study Day Convocation, Church-Chapel

  • “A King for the 21st Century” by Vincent Harding
  • Music by Goshen College Voices-n-Harmony.

1 and 2 p.m. – Hot Topics, Church classrooms

Student clubs and Vincent Harding will lead seminars on civil rights, interracial relationships, nonviolence training, celebrating cultures, Catholic social teaching and contemporary women’s issues.

Martin Luther King Jr. Study Day is sponsored in part by Plowshares. For more information about the study day, call the Multicultural Education Office at (574) 535-7548. The Church-Chapel and Umble Center are accessible to people using wheelchairs and others with physical limitations.

Goshen College, established in 1894, is a four-year 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, Kaplan’s “Most Interesting Colleges” guide and U.S.News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit

Editors: Reporters and photographers are welcome at all of the study day’s events. For more information, contact Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or