May 26, 2024

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Week

“Letter From the Birmingham Jail”: Breakfast & Discussion

Date: Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011

Time: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Place: Faculty/Staff Dining, Seacobeck Hall

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” These famous words written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his open letter titled, “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” still ring true today. The program will feature a panel discussion including UMW faculty members regarding the spirit and compelling message of Dr. King’s Letter. This event is co-sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs and the Fredericksburg chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Inc., an organization in which Dr. King was a member.


Date: Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Great Hall, Woodard Campus Center

Reservations are preferred but not required for this event; please contact the James Farmer Multicultural Center at 540/654-1044.

Kwanzaa was established by Dr. Maulana Karenga and first celebrated on Dec. 26, 1966. It was created in order to enhance the value of unity throughout the African and African-American communities as a non-religious, week-long holiday celebrating and honoring African culture and heritage throughout the world. Traditionally celebrated Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, Kwanzaa consists of seven days of celebration, featuring activities such as candle-lighting, pouring of libations, and culminating in a feast and gift giving. Please join us as we partake in the activities and rituals of Kwanzaa as well as enjoy a feast together.  This event is cosponsored by the James Farmer Multicultural Center and the Black Student Association.


Nontombi Naomi Tutu

Date: Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011

Time: 7 p.m.; reception to follow in Trinkle Hall Rotunda

Place: Dodd Auditorium

Sponsored by the Office of the President
The challenges of growing up black and female in apartheid South Africa led Naomi Tutu to her present role as an activist for human rights. Her experiences have taught her how much we all lose when any of us is judged purely on physical attributes. The third child of Archbishop Desmond and Nomalizo Leah Tutu, Naomi Tutu was born in South Africa and has also lived in Lesotho, the United Kingdom, and the United States. She was educated in Swaziland, the U.S., and England, and she has divided her adult life between South Africa and the U.S. Growing up the “daughter of” has offered her many opportunities and challenges. Most important of these has been the challenge to find her own place in the world. She has taken up the challenge and channeled the opportunities that she has been given to raise her voice as a champion for the dignity of all.

Tutu has served as a development consultant in West Africa and a program coordinator for programs on race, gender, and gender-based violence in education at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town. She has also taught at the universities of Hartford and Connecticut and at Brevard College. Tutu began her public speaking as a college student at Berea College in Kentucky in the 1970s when she was invited to speak at churches, community groups, colleges, and universities about her experiences growing up in apartheid South Africa. Since that time she has become a much sought after speaker for groups as varied as business associations, professional conferences, meetings of elected officials, and church and civic organizations. In her speeches she blends the passion for human dignity with humor and personal stories.

Tutu has also led truth and reconciliation workshops for groups dealing with different types of conflict. Together with Rose Bator she presents a workshop titled “Building Bridges: Dealing with Issues of Race and Racism.” The two also lead women’s retreats through their organization Sister Sojourner. They are also writing a book, I Don’t Think of You as Black: Honest Conversations on Race and Racism.

Tutu is a consultant for two organizations that reflect the breadth of her involvement in issues of human rights, including the Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence, founded by renowned author Riane Eisler, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Betty Williams, and the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In this empowering keynote speech, Naomi Tutu combines Dr. King’s dream of the “Beloved Community” with the teachings of a South African proverb, speaking to the need to understand how our actions – or inactions – affect ourselves and all with whom we come into contact. Rather than focus on what separates us, Tutu encourages us to focus on our shared humanity in order to build a just world. Both the “Beloved Community” and the proverb share an underlying theme: the importance of not dehumanizing those with whom we are in conflict and instead concentrating on what we have the power to change.

The Celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will also include a week-long community service challenge at UMW. All students, faculty, and staff members will be charged with serving the greater Fredericksburg community.

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.