Martin Luther King, Jr. Series

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Each year in January, the RISD community organizes and hosts the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Series to acknowledge the life and vast contributions of Dr. King in creating a more just and democratic society. The annual series of special events includes lectures, programs and workshops designed to provide RISD and the local community with meaningful moments of service, reflection, self-development, inspiration and celebration.

At the heart of the series, the MLK Keynote Lecture highlights the role of creative endeavor in advancing democracy and equity. Each year RISD invites a speaker to campus who consistently and skillfully upholds Dr. King’s values and whose service and commitment to justice make an indelible difference in the world.

Recent MLK keynote speakers include children’s rights advocate Marian Wright Edelman (2014), artist/activist Harry Belafonte (2013) and writer/activist Angela Davis (2012). It is with great honor and excitement that the MLK Series Planning Committee RISD’s 2015 MLK keynote speaker and honoree:

Danny Glover 

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photo: Victoria Will / Invision / AP

With a portfolio of work grounded in community advancement and socially responsible art making, internationally acclaimed actor, producer and humanitarian Danny Glover embodies the impact creative endeavor can have in advancing democracy and equity. His philanthropic and humanitarian work has been a constant in his career – from his early life as a student activist and community developer, to his more recent activities centered around advocacy for economic justice and universal access to health care and education. 

As an actor, Glover has been a commanding presence on screen, stage and television for more than 25 years. His film credits range from small, independent films such as To Sleep With Anger, Death at a Funeral and the film version of Athol Fugard’s play Boseman and Lena, to big Hollywood productions such as Witness and The Color Purple, to the blockbuster Lethal Weapon series.

Glover has earned Emmy nominations for his performance in the title role in the HBO movie Mandela and his work in the acclaimed miniseries Lonesome Dove, and recently co-starred in the popular TV series Touch. As co-founder of Louverture Films in NYC, he is dedicated to producing films of historic relevance, social impact and artistic integrity, such as Bamako, Trouble The Water and The House I Live In, among others.

At RISD, Glover will speak about Creativity and Democracy: Social Change Through the Arts. His talk on Wednesday, January 28 is free and open to everyone, but tickets are required through a registration process to be announced here at a later date.

Read Danny Glover's extended bio.


MLK 2015 | events

January 17 | opening celebration dinner, 5–8 pm, Portfolio Café, 15 Westminster Street

January 17 | opening concert, 6:30–8 pm, Fleet Library at RISD, 15 Westminster Street

January 19 | MLK day of service, 8:30 am–2;30 pm, Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School, 33 Camp Street

January 19 | RISD LEADS featuring Camilo Viveiros: Martin, Ella, and Cesar: Learning from Movement Leadership, 6 pm, RISD Tap Room, 226 Benefit Street (4th floor)

January 26 | lecture featuring anti-racist writer, educator and renowned speaker Tim Wise, Uprooting Privilege: Leadership Responsibilities in a World of Institutional Inequality, 7:00pm, Chace Center, 20 North Main St.

January 28 | Keynote Lecture: Danny Glover, Creativity and Democracy: Social Change through the Arts, 7:00pm, RISD Auditorium, 17 Canal Walk, Simulcast Screening: Chace Center, 20 North Main St

TBD | film screening featuring the work of Danny Glover

TBD | student-produced event around the spirit of Dr. King 

TBD | ticket information available closer to the events


2014 MLK | selected coverage
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Furniture Design students walk along the riverfront, carrying their projects to class.