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Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Features Civil Rights Activist Angela Davis

By Erika Mantz, Media Relations
January 14, 2009

MLK 2009 image
Exploring the growing prison nation in NH is part of the discussion during MNLK, Jr. celebration

UNH’s 19th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration Jan. 22–Feb. 5, will highlight King’s struggle to create a community where social, political and economic justice are more the norm than the exception. This year’s celebration, “One in 100: Dismantling a Prison Nation,” is based on the steady growth of the United States’ prison system, a system that has more than one in every 100 adults behind bars.

In New Hampshire alone, there were two death penalty cases in 2008 and one of those defendants is on death row. UC Berkeley professor and internationally known civil rights activist Angela Davis will deliver the keynote address.

Davis, an icon of the radical political activism of the late 1960s and early '70s, may have tamed her trademark Afro but her ideas remain on the radical edge of the political spectrum. In her address, she will express her concerns about our government's general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system rather than to educational institutions. Davis will discuss the sobering facts about the proliferation of prisons and the disproportionate incarceration of minorities. She also has conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender and imprisonment. Her most recent books are “Abolition Democracy” and “Are Prisons Obsolete?” She is now completing a book on “Prisons and American History.”

Davis will deliver her keynote address, “Education or Incarceration: The Future of Democracy,” Thursday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. Johnson Theatre at UNH’s Paul Creative Arts Center. The event also will feature a musical performance produced by Sandi Clarke featuring UNH professor Dennis Britton, New Hampshire vocalists Olga Tynes, Khristie Dyson and Denise Richardson. UNH professor Reginald A. Wilburn also will perform. A reception and book signing with Davis will follow the presentation. At 12:30 p.m. that same day Laura Knoy, host of NHPR’s The Exchange will host a conversation with Davis in the Strafford Room of the MUB.

Other events honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. at UNH include:

Photo Art Exhibit- “A Prison Nation: Unlocking the Stories”
Thursday, Jan. 22, 6 p.m./Strafford Room, MUB 

Spiritual Celebration- Breaking the Ties that Bind
Sunday, Jan. 25, 4 p.m./Durham Community Church

A Conversation with Angela Davis Hosted by Laura Knoy of NHPR’s Exchange
Thursday, Jan. 29, 12:30 p.m./Strafford Room, MUB

Commemorative Address-Education or Incarceration: The Future of Democracy
Thursday, Jan. 29, 7 p.m./PCAC Johnson Theatre

Educational Panel-Are Prisons Obsolete?  Exploring the growing prison nation in NH
Thursday, Feb. 5, 12:40 p.m./DeMerritt Hall, Room 112

For more info on the celebration visit http://www.unh.edu/diversity/mlk_celebration2009.html or call JerriAnne Boggis at 2-0693. All events are free and open to the public. Parking is free after 6 p.m. and on weekends. Call 2-0693 for information about accessibility.

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