A journalist whose provocative columns and willingness to engage in tough debate has made him one of the most recognizable pundits in America, Roland S. Martin, will deliver the keynote address at Longwood University’s annual weeklong celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin, a nationally syndicated columnist who appears daily as a political analyst on the highly rated Tom Joyner Morning Show, is the host and managing editor of TV One’s morning news program, NewsOne Now. He has hosted the morning show—the first in U.S. history to deliver the news from an African-American perspective—since 2013.
A new event will be added to the MLK Week’s slate: a viewing and discussion of the 2016 film All The Way, which follows President Lyndon B. Johnson (portrayed by Bryan Cranston) through his first year in office after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In the film, Johnson struggles with the opposing forces of King and Southern Democrats as the historic Civil Rights Act legislation works its way through Congress.
“Important questions are being raised now more than 50 years after the Civil Rights Act was passed,” said Jonathan Page, director of citizen leadership and social justice at Longwood, who organized MLK Week. “In the wake of the general election, we want to promote positive discussion and deep conversations around our campus by asking questions like, have we moved the needle in the last 50 years? Have we seen the kind of progress we’d like to see? And, what could we do differently to make the change we want? This film shows the struggle of powerful Americans to do the right thing and puts our own time in context.”
Martin’s address, scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 26, at 4 p.m. in Blackwell Ballroom, will touch on many of the same themes: history, citizens’ responsibilities in democracy and politics today. The event is free, and community members are invited along with students, faculty and staff.
“Everyone who attends Roland Martin’s keynote address will leave challenged to think more broadly and inclusively about the issues of the day,” said Page. “He is widely known as one of the most provocative journalists working, and is not afraid to question viewpoints and encourage students to think critically about themselves. He is such a fitting speaker during MLK Week, especially at a university where citizenship is at our core.”
Longwood’s MLK Week will be bookended by two longstanding events: an annual service challenge and a bus trip to historic place. The MLK Service Challenge, a day of student volunteerism, is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 21. This year’s bus trip will take students to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
A full schedule of events is below:
Longwood Martin Luther King Jr. Week Events
Saturday, Jan. 21—MLK Service Challenge. Register yourself or your group to volunteer at blogs.longwood.edu/longwoodmlk/
Thursday, Jan. 26—Roland S. Martin Keynote Address. 4 p.m., Blackwell Ballroom. A journalist and author, Martin hosts the only African-American-focused morning news program on TV One, which is available in more than 55 million households.
Friday, Jan. 27—Movie and Discussion: All The Way. 6 p.m., Moton Museum. President Lyndon B. Johnson, in his first year in the Oval Office, struggles between competing forces to pass historic civil rights legislation. Starring Bryan Cranston as Johnson.
Saturday, Jan. 28—MLK Bus Trip: National Museum of African American History and Culture. Students will take a trip through the past to explore the civil rights movement and the challenges the U.S. faced during that time, and will be prompted to connect the experience to current events and their own experiences at Longwood. Tickets are $5. Register at blogs.longwood.edu/longwoodmlk/