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‘The Fierce Urgency of Now’ is theme of modified MLK Week activities

“The Fierce Urgency of Now” is the theme of modified activities Jan. 17-21 at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University that celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Due to COVID-19, all in-person events for MLK Week have been canceled or postponed until later in the semester.

“The theme for MLK Week this year comes from a speech Dr. King delivered in New York City in response to the Vietnam War exactly one year before his death,” said Malik Stewart, director of Multicultural Student Services at CSB and SJU. “The activities planned for this week offer some time for reflection, healing and re-commitment to the fight for justice at home and abroad. I’m honored to have a local Black scholar keynote our MLK week events this year and to share his work with the CSB+SJU community.”

Here are the virtual events that are still scheduled. All events require registration.

Monday, Jan. 17

St. Cloud State University’s MLK Community Celebration, 8:30 a.m.:

Dr. Reba Peoples: “Rest as Revolution in the Age of Racial Reckoning”, 2 p.m.:

King’s words regarding the fierce urgency of now remind us that fast deliberate action must also be coupled with thoughtful analysis and appreciation of systemic context. While it is important to act, we must be mindful of taking meaningful and appropriate action if we want to see meaningful, long-term transformation.

Peoples will deliver a SMART Wellness training workshop that is designed to deepen awareness of the individual and cultural shifts that are needed to create a lifestyle that supports emotional wellness while simultaneously holding space to challenge the systems and structures that stand in the way of creating a fair and just society that works equally well for all of us.

Tuesday, Jan. 18

Kurt Hollender “W.E.B. Du Bois in Berlin: German Letters and The Souls of Black Folk”, 11:30 a.m.:

Join Kurt Hollender, CSB+SJU visiting assistant professor of German, for a lunch & learn webinar exploring the German intellectual tradition and the legacy of civil rights in the United States.

Thursday, Jan. 20

Christopher P. Lehman Keynote, 6:30 p.m.:

Lehman is a professor of ethnic studies at St. Cloud State University, a former summer visiting fellow at Harvard University, and the author of award-winning Slavery’s Reach: Southern Slaveholders in the North Star State.

From the 1840s through the end of the Civil War, leading Minnesotans invited slaveholders and their wealth into the free territory and free state of Minnesota, enriching the area’s communities and residents. Dozens of southern slaveholders and people raised in slaveholding families purchased land and backed Minnesota businesses. Slaveholders’ wealth was invested in some of the state’s most significant institutions and provided a financial foundation for several towns and counties. And the money generated by Minnesota investments flowed both ways, supporting some of the South’s largest plantations.

Through careful research in obscure records, censuses, newspapers, and archival collections, Lehman has brought to light this hidden history of northern complicity in building slaveholder wealth.