Each year, Denison’s academic calendar reflects an observation of Martin Luther King Jr. that takes place a full week after the national holiday. Because students typically arrive on campus the day before the holiday, the delay gives the community an opportunity to build a slate of events that encompass more than just 24 hours. In 2023,  students, faculty, and staff took part in worship and acts of service, broke bread together, and learned from one another in workshops.

Read moreabout the 2023 events.


Denison’s 2023 Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations began with a Sunday worship service in the style that recalled King’s conviction: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” led by the Power Hour worship community and Rev. Tim Carpenter, coordinator of Christian life.


Students enjoyed donuts and conversation as they made cards for nursing home residents, blankets for hospice patients, and hygiene kits for the homeless.

MLK Legacy March + Brunch

Following King’s tradition, students, faculty, and staff met at the Slayter flagpole, then chanted as they marched down to Mitchell Center. A brunch was laid out at Mitchell, and everyone sat together to eat, talk, and enjoy a presentation by featured poet Wilson Okello.

Workshops, exhibitions, and time for reflection

After a meal together, the community attended workshops and viewed the Denison Museum exhibition Gordon Parks & Contemporaries Through the Lens. Parks was a self-taught photographer, writer, composer, and filmmaker known for his documentary photojournalism of the Civil Rights Movement.

  • Workshop: Footsteps of the Freedom Journey
    Experience the journey toward freedom from slavery, segregation, and racism in three musical and theatrical vignettes. Led by Rev. Timothy Carpenter, leaders of BSU and Tehillah, this group departs from the steps of Swasey Chapel. 
  • Workshop: Writing the Legacy - Poetry Writing
    Facilitated by Wilson Okello, this workshop is an invitation to practice freedom by giving voice to our imagination.
  • Workshop: Painting the Legacy
    Throughout history, art has been used to express our feelings and capture our thoughts and social change.
  • MLK Reflection Space
    Enjoy spending time being present with others as we individually and collectively reflect on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his message, and his legacy. 
January 27, 2023