Recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jan. 15, 2021

Dear University Community,

On Monday, we will pause our work across the United States to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, Friday, Jan. 15, would have been Dr. King’s 92nd birthday.

One of our nation’s greatest social activists, Dr. King helped to lead a civil rights movement that resulted in significant achievements, including the ratification of the 24th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. His life’s work endures today through social justice movements and peaceful activism here and around the world.

I can’t help but wonder how much more Dr. King could have accomplished for our country had he not been killed at 39 years old. His voice, passion and leadership have endured as a powerful legacy that touches our lives in so many ways.

Dr. King’s most famous “I Have a Dream” speech was part of the peaceful protest known as the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” His fervent plea for equality and justice was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to 250,000 Americans, and many more watched on television at home.

Dr. King’s words marked a pivotal moment in our nation’s history, and everything he did for our country continues to inspire many, including me. As the president of one of the most diverse universities in the country – your university – I believe we are working to make our community as inclusive as possible. As we come together to correct social injustices and achieve equity, I will continue to hold onto Dr. King’s belief: “One day we will live in a nation where we will not be judged by the color of our skin but by the content of our character.” Together, I know we can make that belief our reality.

Warm regards,

Keith E. Whitfield, Ph.D.