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Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2019

Each year we invite students, staff, and faculty to join us for one of several opportunities to serve in the community and learn about civil rights in Richmond. The University also hosts an annual commemoration event featuring student performances and an inspirational keynote speaker.

Infinite Hope

The work of Dr. King remains unfinished, and the University has committed to thoughtfully considering what his vision means today. On Mon., Jan. 21, 2019, the University will again observe the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday by canceling classes and observing the holiday for employees.

Students, staff, and faculty will have opportunities to serve in the community and come together at the end of the day to enjoy the annual all-campus commemoration as a time to reflect on what Dr. King's dream means today. Registration for service activities and Family Day is open now; the Commemoration and Kick-Off Breakfast are open to the University of Richmond community, without registration. Many thanks to University Museums and the Center for Civic Engagement for your efforts in helping plan this year's activities.

MLK Day Overview

Schedule of Events

Fri., Jan. 18

12:30 p.m. - 1:25 p.m.
The Bonner Center for Civic Engagement will host a Brown Bag lunch to discuss the ongoing work at the East End Cemetery (an historic African American cemetery in Henrico County).  Erin Hollaway Palmer and Brian Palmer (Friends of East End) will be here to discuss the history of the cemetery, how it relates to the history of Richmond, and aspirations for the cemetery.
Tyler Haynes Commons, Room 305

Sun., Jan. 20

4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Join the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, Community Fund, and Bonner Center for Civic Engagement for a free showing of the film STEP
Byrd Theatre - 2908 W Cary St.

Mon., Jan. 21

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Kick-off Breakfast
Join us for a special breakfast to kick-off the day's festivities. The program begins at 10:30, and features a keynote by Dr. Julian Hayter, a performance by Block Crew, and remarks from student Nicole Maldonado Benites '19. Regular dining rates apply.

New!! 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Update: President's Commission on University History and Identity
THC 346
Join Co-Chairs Dr. Lauranett Lee and Dr. Edward Ayers as they review the charge, share information about the members and their work thus far, and take questions from the audience about the work of this new commission.

11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Service Opportunities in the community or on campus (registration with your UR login and password required)

11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
MLK Family Day, a program featuring fun activities such as dance, music, and crafts, that help children, ages 2-12, understand the meaning of the civil rights movement. Modlin Center for the Arts (registration requested)

11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Growing Up in Civil Rights Richmond: A Community Remembers, a new exhibit from University Museums
Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
MLK Reflection Space
Booker Hall Lobby

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
All-Campus Commemoration Ceremony, featuring student and community performances, remarks from student speakers, and a keynote from Christy Coleman, Executive Director of the American Civil War Museum.
Camp Concert Hall

4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Modlin Center for the Arts

Service Opportunities

Day of Service/MLK Family Day

Day of Service

11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Many thanks to the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement for co-sponsoring these service sites at which students, staff, and faculty may serve during the Day of Service. Click on this link to register for a Day of Service. Select "Login" and use your UR login and password.

Tricycle Gardens – Farm tasks including compost management, pruning, weeding, transplanting seedlings, cleaning up the farm, and mulching - local non-profit located downtown on Jefferson Ave.
James River Association – Self-directed trash cleanup - JRA provides the necessary supplies, including trash grabbers, gloves, bags, first aid kits and a report sheet (**no transportation provided for this project**)
Habitat for Humanity ReStore - Sorting, organizing, labeling, unpacking, merchandising, pricing, and helping customers take merchandise to their car
No-sew Fleece Blankets -  Make blankets and cards that will be given to youth upon arriving at Elk Hill’s residential program through foster care. This activitiy will take place in the UR Law School
East End Cemetery – Clear brush and restore pathways at a traditional African American cemetery in the East End. You may even discover a mislaid grave marker or two.
Library of Virginia - Transcribing handwritten pages by reading the written text and typing it into digital form. Documents include those from the Civil War, African American narratives, and Patrick Henry's executive letters. Please bring a laptop. This project will take place in THC 305.
Connor's Heroes - assembling toiletry bags for parents of children being treated for cancer. This project will take place in THC 305.

Each activity can accommodate a limited number of volunteers so registration is required. Transportation is provided for most opportunities.

MLK Family Day

11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

MLK Family Day will present creative learning opportunities around MLK Day and civil rights history for children ages 2-12, in the Modlin Center for the Arts. Activities will include a civil rights sing-a-long, arts and crafts, empowering dance, and much much more. We are grateful for the partnership of the University Museums for their assistance in presenting MLK Family Day. Plenty of free parking is available in the lot next to the Modlin Center, 453 Westhampton Way. 

Click here to volunteer at MLK Family Day. Volunteers will be needed to help set up from 8:30-9:30 a.m., to help staff the registration table, to lead the activities for our visitors, and help with clean-up. 

Click here to register to attend MLK Family Day. Faculty, staff, and community members are encouraged to bring their children, ages 2-12, to this event. We do ask that you plan to stay with your child(ren) for the course of the event. 

Commemoration Ceremony

Infinite Hope

Mon., Jan. 21, 2019 | 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Camp Concert Hall

Reception to follow in Booth Lobby, Modlin Center for the Arts


  • Keynote address by Christy Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum
  • Student Performances

About the keynote speaker:

Christy Coleman grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia and earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Hampton University. She currently serves as CEO of the American Civil War Museum, located in Richmond and Appomattox, Virginia. In her role as CEO, she has been instrumental in furthering discussion around the Civil War, its legacies, and its relevance to our lives today not only in the Richmond region but around the nation.

She began her career at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. During her time with CWF she had increasing levels of responsibility finally serving as Director of Historic Programs being responsible for all programming and tours in the Historic Area. In 1999 she left to become President and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, MI. In 2008, Ms. Coleman was named President and CEO of the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar (ACWC). 

In 2013 she helped orchestrate the merger of ACWC with the Museum of the Confederacy to create the American Civil War Museum. Christy has served on a number of local commissions and national boards. Christy strives to make museum experiences meaningful to diverse communities. A tireless advocate for the power of museums, narrative disruption and inclusivity, she has been an innovator and leader in the history museum field.

Select Professional Activities/Awards/Recognitions