Apply

2024 Dr. Martin Luther King Observance

MLK day graphic

UHart will commemorate the life and legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, at 12:45 p.m. in Lincoln Theater. The 2024 theme is “Love: Hate Is Too Great A Burden to Bear.” The observance will include the presentation of the 2024 MLK Beloved Community Awards.

The annual observance provides an opportunity for our community to pause and reflect on the work and impact of Dr. King, while recommitting to the goal of showing empathy, respect, and understanding toward one another in an effort to make the world a better place.

The annual MLK observance program is free and open to the public. View the program below.

MLK singers

Love: Hate Is Too Great a Burden To Bear

Prelude

“Glory”

Performed by Common & John Legend (Music from CD)

Welcome

Maliqa Mosley-Williams ’23 M ‘24, Marketing with Management Minor, MBA with Business Analytics

Kiara Opoku ’24 M ‘25, Finance with Business analytics and Managerial Economics, MBA with Marketing

“Lift Every Voice and Sing”

James Weldon Johnson

Performed by Lynnae Labato ‘25, Dual Major Vocal Performance and Music Education

Jeremy Davis '25, Music Composition Major

Remarks

Stephen Mulready M’77, Acting President, University of Hartford

Video Message

Kristen Harris A ’00, ’02, President, University of Hartford Alumni Board

University of Hartford Magnet School

Original Monologues performed by 5th graders

  • Lukah Hong - Mr. Barrieau's Class
  • Celess Simms - Mrs. Desrosiers's Class
  • Liam Lumpkin - Ms. Pizzoferrato's Class

Hartt Theatre Ensemble

"Strange Fruit"

Written by Abel Meeropol and sung by Billie Holiday

Talese Brown’27, Music Theatre

Mikakla Phillips ‘27, Music Theatre

Keynote Address

The Honorable Richard A. Robinson, Chief Justice, Connecticut Supreme Court

2024 MLK Beloved Community Awards

Presented by Captain Michael Davis, P’24 ‘27

Christine Grant, M’99, Assistant Vice President, for Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement

Llonia Rojan Jackson, ’94, P’26, Director, Cultural Diversity and Belonging

Poetry Performance

“Love”

Written and performed by Kiara Opoku

A Charge to the Community!

Julian Spivey ‘24, Finance

2024 MLK Keynote Speaker: The Honorable Richard A. Robinson

The Honorable Richard A. Robinson
The Honorable Richard A. Robinson

Richard A. Robinson is the first African American Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Connecticut in 1979 and a Juris Doctor degree from West Virginia University School of Law in 1984. He was admitted to the West Virginia Bar and the Connecticut Bar, and is a member of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of West Virginia and the U.S. District Court, Connecticut. Justice Robinson was appointed as a Judge of the Connecticut Appellate Court on December 10, 2007; a Justice of the Supreme Court on December 19, 2013; and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on May 3, 2018. His career is complemented by an array of public and judicial service, ranging from his time as the president of the Stamford Branch of the NAACP (1988–90) to his current appointment. Read more.

About Dr. King

Dr. Martin Luther King
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, a Baptist minister, scholar, and civil rights activist, was an iconic and impactful leader of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, he non-violently fought for racial and economic equality and justice until his assassination in 1968.

King and others were the organizers of high-profile American events such as the Montgomery bus boycott, the march from Selma to Montgomery, and the 1963 March on Washington where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. These events and others resulted in the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Connecticut, and later, the University of Hartford played roles in King’s fight for equality and justice. When he was 15 years old, he came to Simsbury, Conn. to pick tobacco and, for the first time, experienced life without segregation. In his autobiography, he wrote: “After that summer in Connecticut, it was a bitter feeling going back to segregation. It was hard to understand…”

In 1959, after the Montgomery bus boycott ended and, during nonviolent protests against segregation organized by King and others in southern states, the University of Hartford invited him to deliver its Alexander S. Keller Memorial Fund Lecture at Bushnell Memorial Hall in Hartford. King’s speech “The Future of Integration,” was not without controversy as he urged attendees to not turn a blind eye to the treatment of their fellow Americans.

As heard on a recording of the 1959 speech, King tells the Hartford audience, “…What we need (is) a committed liberalism - one where individuals stand up on basic principles and give themselves to the right side of this issue realizing that right is right and wrong is wrong and never the twain shall meet. This is something we must do."

Many renowned civil rights events followed King’s speech in Hartford including non-violent lunch counter sit-ins, school desegregation cases, freedom riders who took bus trips to the south to protest segregated restrooms and lunch counters, the March on Washington, and the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. In July 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law with King in attendance.

King’s speech and all Keller Lectures letters, memos, programs, press releases, newspaper clippings, transcripts, and recordings, including Q&A sessions, are digitized and available for researcher use in the University’s Harrison Libraries.

Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, who devoted her life to furthering her husband’s goals, also came to UHart to deliver a guest lecture in 1978.

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., (1929–1968)

Join us in February to Celebrate Black History Month

There are so many ways to participate in this year's celebration.
Program Date/Time Location
Annual MLK Program Wednesday, January 31, 2024 - 12:45 p.m. Lincoln Theater
“Love: Hate is Too Great a Burden to Bear” - A Conversation with Religious Life Leaders Wednesday, February 7, 2024 - 12:45 p.m. Shaw Center
Some Blues, Some Jazz and Soul Food – the Cookout Edition Friday, February 9, 2024 - 6 p.m. Konover Great Room
The Divine Nine with the Hartford Hawks - Double Header Men’s and Women’s Basketball Saturday, February 10, 2024 – 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. ($35)
Sports Center
Trap & Paint Saturday, February 10, 2024 - 8 p.m. Konover Great Room
“Love: Hate is Too Great a Burden to Bear” - Student Panel: Love Should not Hurt – A Conversation on Dating and Domestic Violence Wednesday, February 14, 2024 - 12:45 p.m. Shaw Center
Curt Flood’s Challenge to Baseball’s Reserve Clause Wednesdays, February 21 and 28, 12:30 p.m. Harry Jack Gray Center (UHart faculty/staff/students wanting to attend for free in honor of Black History Month, contact Laurie Fasciano at fasciano@csky88.com to register).
Affinity of Color Luncheon
Wednesday, February 21, 2024 - 12:45 p.m. Commons Private Dining Room
Black Student Union Fashion Show: “Memorable Milestones" Saturday, February 24, 2024 - 5 - 9:30 p.m. Lincoln Theater (all proceeds benefit the BSU Book Fund)
“Love: Hate is too great a Burden to Bear” - A Peace Vigil
Wednesday, February 28, 2024 - 4 pm. Gengras Student Union Lawn (Hawk Lounge inclement weather option)
Black Student Union: Blazing Trails for 60 Years Friday, April 26-28, 2004

Information coming soon

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice at UHart

Save the Date for Diversity Week: March 18-23: UMatter@Hart

The University is committed to fostering a welcoming campus climate that is inclusive, and an environment where students, faculty, and staff feel safe and supported. You can learn more by exploring our webpage.