Communitywide Dinner to Commemorate Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Joyce Ladner to deliver keynote address Jan. 13 in Johnson Commons Ballroom

OXFORD, Miss. – Civil rights activist, author and sociologist Joyce Ladner will deliver the keynote address during a communitywide dinner at the University of Mississippi commemorating the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Hosted by the UM Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, the dinner is set for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 13 in the Paul B. Johnson Sr. Commons.

This year’s theme is “Building Upon the Legacy: It Starts With Me,” which connects with the university’s 60 Years of Integration theme “Build Upon the Legacy,” honoring James Meredith.

Joyce Ladner

“We chose Dr. Ladner because she is a native Mississippian who was a student civil rights activist in Mississippi during the 1960s,” said Cade Smith, assistant vice chancellor for community engagement. “She worked alongside Medgar Evers and other students from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to advance civil rights in Mississippi.

“She has also served in research fellowships and leadership positions in numerous think tanks and civic and professional organizations, including Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia, the American Sociological Association and the Brookings Institution.”

The university and its Division of Diversity and Community Engagement hosted the inaugural memorial dinner and celebration in 2020 to honor the life and legacy of King and strengthen bonds between the citizens of Oxford and Ole Miss.

“We want to begin the holiday weekend with fellowship, food, music and an inspirational message,” Smith said. “We also wanted to complement the traditional MLK holiday activities in Oxford, including the community-led readings of Dr. King’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ at Off Square Books on the Saturday before the holiday and the remembrance and celebration services hosted at local churches during the holiday weekend.”

The buffet opens at 6:30 p.m. Guests must register before the event. Seating is limited. For more information, visit