Majora Carter

Martin Luther King Jr. Honored with Day of Speakers, Events

A full day of events honored and celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 18.

Majora Carter and Sonia Sanchez headlined the day as the featured speakers. There was also a “Wright for Rights” campaign, and several documentaries were shown about the Civil Rights Movement.

Carter is an urban revitalization strategy consultant, real estate developer and Peabody Award winning broadcaster. She is responsible for the creation and successful implementation of numerous green-infrastructure projects, policies and job training and placement systems. Carter has continually set new standards of excellence with projects in her South Bronx community, while expanding her reach through philanthropic pursuits and business interests that have all pointed toward greater self-esteem and economic potential for low-income people everywhere.

Her list of awards and honorary degrees includes accolades from groups as diverse as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, John Podesta’s Center for American Progress, Goldman Sachs and a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship. Carter is a board member of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Andrew Goodman Foundation.

Her talk, “Department of Home(town) Security,” was sponsored by the Hanson Lecture Series. She spoke to a packed auditorium of students, faculty, staff and community members about growing up in a poor neighborhood and how she came to transform her own community and many others by thinking outside the box.

Sanchez is a poet, playwright and activist who was one of the most important writers of the Black Arts Movement. She is a national and international lecturer on Black culture and literature, women’s liberation, peace and racial justice. She has lectured at more than 500 universities and colleges in the United States and has traveled extensively, reading her poetry in Africa, Australia, the Caribbean, Canada, Cuba, England, Europe, Nicaragua, Norway and the People’s Republic of China.

Among the honors she has received are the Robert Creeley Award, the Frost Medal, the Community Service Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the Lucretia Mott Award, the Outstanding Arts Award from the Pennsylvania Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Peace and Freedom Award from Women International League for Peace and Freedom, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Humanities, a National Endowment for the Arts Award and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

Her lecture, “Push-ups for Peace: Remembering Brother Martin,” was sponsored by the Office of the Provost, and she held a book signing following the talk. She performed several of her poems and shared with the audience stories of her family and students, and the struggle for peace.

The “Write for Rights” campaign, co-sponsored by Rev. Beth O’Malley and Amnesty International, helped Hood community members write letters to support prisoners of conscience around the world. This is an annual, global campaign led by AI involving hundreds of thousands of people writing letters and sending them to government officials.

The special program not only ignited discussion among Hood students, faculty, staff and the greater community about Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, the speakers also challenged everyone to think creatively, be kind and always do our part to fulfill King’s dream.

Watch Sonia Sanchez read a poem she wrote for Martin Luther King Jr.

Watch an interview with Sonia Sanchez.

Watch an interview with Majora Carter.

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