Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week 2019

January 21-26, 2019

Keynote Speakers

David Stovall, professor of African American studies and criminology, law and justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is the keynote speaker for Grand Valley's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week.

Stovall will speak in the Fieldhouse Arena at 1:30 p.m. on January 21, following a silent march on campus. The presentation is free and open to the public. It is also approved for LIB 100/201 courses.

Stovall studies the influence of race in urban education, community development, and housing. His work investigates the significance of race in the quality of schools located in communities that are changing both racially and economically. He is the author of Born out of Struggle!: Critical Race Theory, School Creation, and the Politics of Interruption, and a co-author of two other books, numerous articles and book chapters.

Stovall works with community organizations and schools to develop curriculum that address issues of equity and justice. His work led him to become a member of the design team for the Greater Lawndale/Little Village School of Social Justice High School, which opened in 2005. He is also involved with the Peoples Education Movement, a collection of teachers, community members, students and professors in Chicago, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area who engage in collaborative community projects centered in creating relevant curriculum. 


headshot: David Stovall

David Stovall

A GVSU alumna, Shannon Cohen is the founder and principal of Shannon Cohen, Inc., a boutique firm specializing in providing emotional health strategies to leaders and difference makers. Cohen has designed and led leadership sessions for Amway, City of Grand Rapids, Mercantile Bank, United Way, Kids’ Food Basket, and many more organizations and corporations. She is a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellow, and is the co-founder of Sisters Who Lead, a talent and wellness affinity group for women of color.

Cohen will speak Wednesday, January 23, at 4:30 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center, Pere Marquette Room. The presentation is free and open to the public. It is also approved for LIB 100/201 courses.

The author of Tough Skin, Soft Heart: A Leadership Guide for Growing Stronger, Better, and Wiser, Cohen earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations, and a master’s degree in public administration from Grand Valley.

headshot: Shannon Cohen

Shannon Cohen

Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf: Jefferson, Slavery, and the Moral Imagination

Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf:
Jefferson, Slavery, and the Moral Imagination

7 p.m., Thursday, January 24; Eberhard Center, room 215
301 Fulton St. W., Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Thomas Jefferson, the most revered philosopher of the early republic’s Enlightenment ideals, was deeply involved in the nation’s original sin of slavery. Not only was he a slave owner, DNA testing has strongly suggested that he fathered children with Sally Hemings.

woman and man standing in library Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter Onuf

Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter Onuf

In today’s divisive and distrustful moment, how can Americans grapple productively with the most challenging obstacles to finding common ground for the common good, especially at the troubled crossroads of race and American memory?

The Hauenstein Center is proud to partner with Grand Valley’s Division of Inclusion and Equity to explore this question with historians Annette Gordon-Reed (Harvard University) and Peter S. Onuf (University of Virginia) in commemoration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Annette Gordon-Reed is a professor of American legal history at Harvard Law School. She won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2009 for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, a subject she had previously written about in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy. Her most recently published book (with Peter S. Onuf) is Most Blessed of the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination.

Peter S. Onuf is a professor of history, emeritus, at the University of Virginia, where he has taught for more than 20 years. Onuf is also senior fellow at Monticello’s Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies. A leading scholar of Jefferson and the early American republic, he is the author, co-author, and editor of numerous books including Jefferson’s Empire: The Language of American Nationhood, The Mind of Thomas Jefferson, and Jeffersonian Legacies.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration requested at gvsu.edu/hc/events or by phone at (616) 331-2770.

MLK Jr. Day of Service and Solidarity

The MLK Jr. Day of Service and Solidarity is part of a national day of service where campuses across America gather together to serve and stand in solidarity with their communities in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

GVSU faculty and staff members, and students will come together for MLK Jr. Day of Service and Solidarity on Saturday, January 26, from 8:30am-3:30pm starting with a keynote presentation in the Cook-DeWitt Center, and followed by a service project with local community partners.

The event is coordinated by the Community Service Learning Center; students can register to participate online.

Page last modified January 14, 2019