MLK Day 2014

28″Freedom is one thing. You have it all or you are not free.” — The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The theme for the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance at Bates is The Dream 50 Years Later: Who Are We? The college will look back 50 years to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and to the “I Have a Dream” speech that King gave at that landmark event.

Joining Bates faculty and students as presenters during this year’s events are keynote speaker Gary Younge, a journalist who is author of a book exploring the continued resonance of King’s speech; performance artist Carvens Lissaint, who will give the sermon for the annual King Memorial Worship Service; and U.S. Sen. Angus King.

Following is a preliminary program for King Day 2014 at Bates College.

Saturday, Jan. 18

5:30pm | Sankofa’s H.O.M.E. Open Dress Rehearsal: With seating for Monday night’s performance completely full, the students behind this inspiring show have opened their Saturday dress rehearsal to the public. Co-directed by Bethel Kifle ’14 and Jourdan Fanning ’14, H.O.M.E. celebrates the cultures and heritage of the African Diaspora through song, dance, spoken word and other art forms. Free, but tickets required, available at FMI 207-786-6400.
Schaeffer Theatre

Sunday, Jan. 19

3–5pm | The Truth Shall Set You Free: Poetry Performance Art

How do we allow our true stories and honest life experiences to propel us while pushing the envelope of performance? In this workshop we will tap into the most truthful universal emotions untouched by humankind, creating a vehicle for expression. We will explore different writing prompts, add movement to the words and execute various performance and theater techniques. It will be a catharsis on stage! There will be tears, there will be fear, but there will be beauty! Participants should come dressed in comfortable clothing for ease of movement. Convenors: Carvens and Leslie Lissaint.
Commons 221–222

5–7pm | Dinner


7–8pm | The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Worship Service

Award-winning slam poet and performance artist Carvens Lissaint offers the sermon, titled Break Every Chain (A Call for Freedom), at this annual celebration of King’s life and legacy. Also featured are prose and music by students, including the Bates Gospelaires. A Haitian American living in New York City, Lissaint has won poetry slams nationwide and coached champion slam teams. He broke into musical theater in 2007 with the Hip Hopera Theater troupe and debuted his high-energy solo show Walk in 2009. For information about this event only, please call 207-786-8272.
Peter J. Gomes Chapel

Monday, Jan. 20

9–11am | The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Keynote

Peter J. Gomes Chapel

Master of Ceremonies: James L. Reese, Associate Dean of Students

Music: Three Point Jazz Trio (beginning at 8:45am)

Overview: Matthew R. Auer, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty

Welcome and Introduction of U.S. Sen. Angus King: A. Clayton Spencer, President of Bates College

Remarks by U.S. Sen. Angus S. King Jr.: A Reminiscence of his Participation in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
Sen. King was sworn in as Maine’s first Independent U.S. senator in 2013. He has worked as an attorney, a television host and an entrepreneur in the energy industry, and served two terms in the 1990s as Maine’s governor.

Interlude: Music and readings dedicated to Marian Anderson, Mahalia Jackson, and Camilla Williams, by members of the Bates Gospelaires and Emily Wright-Magoon, Acting Multifaith Chaplain.
Anderson, Williams, and Jackson were pioneering African American artists in classical and gospel music. During the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Anderson sang the spiritual “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”; Williams, “The Star-Spangled Banner”; and Jackson, the gospel anthem “How I Got Over.” We honor these women for their contributions to an event in which men typically provided the voices and visions.

Introduction of Keynote Speaker: Charles Nero, Professor of Rhetoric, African American Studies and American Cultural Studies.

Keynote Address by Gary Younge: Reclaiming King’s Dream: Decoding the Myths and the Meaning of the Civil Rights Era
Younge is an award-winning columnist for the British newspaper The Guardian. He is the author of The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream (Haymarket Books, 2013), an analysis of the continuing resonance of the I Have a Dream speech 50 years after its delivery at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In 2009, Younge received the prestigious James Cameron Prize for his reports on the election of Barack Obama.

Note: In the event the chapel is full Pettengill G52 will be available to view this event.  This event will be livestreamed at

11:15am–12:15pm | Bates MLK Day Book Club

A discussion with keynote speaker Gary Younge about his book The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream. Sponsors: the offices of Human Resources, Intercultural Education, and Equity and Diversity; and the MLK Day Committee. Seating is limited.
Commons 221–222

11am–12:15pm | Session I Workshops

Bates Coalition Against Discrimination: Where Are We Now?
In 2011, the student-led Bates Coalition Against Discrimination (BCAD) demanded changes at Bates in a number of areas: sexual assault; hate crimes and bias incidents; queer issues; the Office of Intercultural Education; and financial aid / Federal Work-Study resources. In this session, BCAD founders will discuss that work and invite conversation about progress, continuing challenges and strategizing for change. Sponsored and convened by the Program in Women and Gender Studies. Featuring alumnae Anna Abelson, Afroz Baig, Erin Bourgault, Charlotte Friedman, Shameena Khan, Catie Lary, Emma Posner, Nikki Rankine and Rosie Winslow (all Class of 2011).
Pettengill G65

I Have a Dream: Appropriation vs. Celebration
In this panel discussion, students present observations about the cultural significance of King’s I Have a Dream speech. Specifically, we will identify and evaluate the complicated ways this iconic speech has been used to both challenge and confirm historical/political moments and specific articulations and uses of the “American Dream.” Convenors: Students in Rhetoric 257, Rhetorical Criticism; and senior rhetoric majors. Sponsor: Department of Rhetoric.
Pettengill G52

Why We (Really) Fight
An introduction to and discussion of the work of Rene Girard: mimetic rivalry and scapegoat theory; violence and religion; myth and demystification. Convenor: Greg Boardman, Applied Music Faculty, Folk Fiddle.
Hedge 106

Letting Freedom Ring: Music and the Dream, 1963
Music played a key role as a context for the civil rights movement in 1963. From Mahalia Jackson to Motown, Bob Dylan to John Coltrane, Marian Anderson to Charles Mingus, artists in jazz, folk, gospel, R&B and classical produced work that raised consciousness and galvanized social action in the year surrounding the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Convenor: Dale Chapman, Associate Professor of Music. Sponsor: Department of Music.
Hedge 208

‘We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.’

Noon–1pm | Lunch

Commons (special menu, $5.50) or the Bobcat Den, Chase Hall

1–2:45pm | The Reverend Benjamin Elijah Mays Debate

The ever-popular debate between Bates and Morehouse colleges continues. This year’s motion: “This House believes King’s Dream is unattainable.” Admission is free, but tickets are required; please visit or call 207-786-6400. Note: This event will be livestreamed at
Olin Concert Hall

3–4:10pm | Session II Workshops

Paper Ballot Genocide: The Dominican Republic and its Haitian Problem
The recent decision by the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic to strip citizenship from most people of Haitian descent born in the country after 1929 has historical precedents. Those affected are denied voting rights and registration at public schools, and can no longer apply for legal work unless they accept their new-found foreignness. Convenors: Baltasar Fra-Molinero, Professor of Spanish and African American Studies, and Sue Houchins, Associate Professor of African American Studies and American Cultural Studies. Sponsors: the programs in African American Studies and Latin American Studies.
Pettengill G10

After the Dream: Ongoing Disparities
A panel discussion exploring ongoing disparities in education, environmental justice and health. Convenors: Matt Auer, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty; Mara Tieken, Assistant Professor of Education; and Kathryn Low, Associate Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Psychology. Sponsor: Office of the Dean of the Faculty.
Pettengill G21

Telling It Like It Is: The Telling Room and Lewiston Middle Schoolers Reflect
In this workshop supported by facilitators and volunteers from the Telling Room, a youth writing program, Lewiston middle school students will share pieces from a summer 2013 workshop and attendees will be invited to craft and share their own stories exploring the question “Who are we?” Convenors: Sonya Tomlinson, Telling Room program coordinator; Jenn Carter, 21st Century Program Director for the Lewiston public schools; students from Lewiston Middle School; Alexandra Morrow ’16, volunteer; and Lecturer in Psychology Su Langdon, Telling Room board member and program evaluator. Sponsor: Department of Psychology.  Note: This workshop spans Sessions II and III.
Hedge 208

Household: Film Viewing and Discussion
The documentary film Household by Craig Saddlemire ’05 explores what it means to be a family member by choice, by birth and by circumstances. His subjects, some of whom will take part in this session, include an extended refugee family from Somalia, an interracial same-sex couple, a single mother in a housing cooperative and a mother of six who has fostered nearly 50 children. Convenor: the Harward Center for Community Partnerships. Sponsors: the Harward Center, the programs in Women and Gender Studies and in African American Studies, and the Department of Sociology. Co-sponsored by the departments of Religious Studies and Psychology. Note: This workshop spans Sessions II and III.
Pettengill G52

Activism: The Dirty Word
Does activism have a bad reputation? Why do some people call themselves activists and others avoid the term? How has activism changed over the years? When does it create change? Featuring current students and alumni, this facilitated discussion will explore activism today. Attendees will be welcome to join in. Prior to MLK Day, posters around campus will invite your responses to questions about activism, responses that will help fuel the workshop. Featuring Rachel Baumann ’14, Hally Bert ’14, Phillip Dube ’16, Tenzin Namdol ’15, Teddy Poneman ’15, and alumni Matt Schlobohm ’00, Craig Saddlemire ’05, Ben Chin ’07 and Alyse Bigger ’12. Convenors: the Stringfellow Committee and the Multifaith Chaplaincy.
Pettengill G65

4:20–5:30pm | Session III Workshops

Telling It Like It Is: The Telling Room and Lewiston Middle Schoolers Reflect
Described under Session II.
Hedge 208

Household: Film Viewing and Discussion
Described under Session II.
Pettengill G52

50 Years Later: Independence in Africa
Fifty years after King’s I Have a Dream speech, a panel of Bates faculty examines what independence means to diverse African nations that became independent during that era. Convenors: Brenna Callahan ’15, Talia Mason ’15 and Amanda Moore ’14, with support from the Africana Club. Sponsor: the Department of French and Francophone Studies.
Roger Williams G18

Social Justice Issues and the Olympics
In the 45 years since John Carlos and Tommie Smith, representing the Olympics Project for Human Rights, raised their fists against racism on the medal stand at the 1968 Olympics, the Olympics have continued to demand attention to issues including racism, sexism, “sex verification” testing, anti-LGBT discrimination, displacement of poor residents, police-state practices and appropriation of indigenous land. In this Olympics year, this workshop begins with that historic event to invite discussion about social justice and the Olympics. Convenors: Erica Rand, Whitehouse Professor of Art and Visual Culture and Women and Gender Studies; Joshua Rubin, Lecturer in Anthropology; and Detmer Kremer ’16. Sponsors: the Athletics Committee and Department of Athletics.
Pettengill G21

Echoes of Jim Crow? Race and Political Power in Contemporary America
In the last several years, we have heard two competing narratives: One claims the country is becoming “post-racial” and the other, that policies have deepened racial inequality in the U.S. This panel discussion will explore the ways that election laws, criminal justice and the rise of the Tea Party have shaped political power and inequality in recent years. Convenors: John Baughman, Associate Professor of Politics; David Perkins, Visiting Instructor in Politics; and Melinda Plastas, Visiting Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies. Sponsor: the Department of Politics.
Pettengill G65

African American Farmers
A discussion of some of the many roles of African Americans in farming and African Americans as farmers over the last 50 years. We hope to invite several local farmers of the African diaspora to a panel discussion. Convenors: Jane Costlow, Clark A. Griffith Professor of Environmental Studies, and Misty Beck, Lecturer in Environmental Studies. Sponsor: the Program in Environmental Studies.
Hedge Hall 106

‘We will try to persuade with our words, but if our words fail, we will try to persuade with our acts.’

7:30pm | The Evening Program

See Jan. 18 to learn about Saturday’s open dress rehearsal. Founded by students in 2010, Sankofa explores the history and diverse array of experience of the African diaspora through dance, music, theater and spoken word, and many other forms of the arts and expression. The group’s annual King Day production has become a symbol of pride and accomplishment for students of the African diaspora at Bates, and an educational and diversifying experience for the entire Bates community. This year’s production is co-directed by Bethel Kifle ’14 and Jourdan C. M. Fanning ’14. Admission is free, but tickets are required; please visit or call 207-786-6400.
Schaeffer Theatre

Wednesday, Jan. 22

1:30–2:30pm | Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Read-In

Bates faculty, staff and students, volunteers will share a book with a fourth-, fifth- or sixth-grader at Martel School in Lewiston. Books will be given to the classrooms to keep. Cars will leave the Harward Center at 1:30pm. FMI Contact Ellen Alcorn at 207-786-8235 or

Jan. 6–24

Publications by and about Martin Luther King Jr.

This display includes copies of The Speech and other works by keynote speaker Gary Younge examining the legacy of the U.S. civil rights movement. FMI
George and Helen Ladd Library


Jan. 13–Feb. 13

Exhibition: ‘Life and Times of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’

A charcoal mural made in 1999 by drawing students working with Pamela Johnson, Associate Professor of Art and Visual Culture.
Peter J. Gomes Chapel