North Central College - Naperville, IL

MLK Week celebrates College’s history of building bridges among cultures

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Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

North Central College invites members of the community to join its annual celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a weeklong lineup of events Jan. 15-21, 2012.

This year’s theme “Where do we go from here?” will honor and remember King with musical tributes, a prayer breakfast, activities and keynote presentation by talk show host, political commentator and entrepreneur Tavis Smiley Jan. 19.

The College kicks off Martin Luther King (MLK) Week on Sunday, Jan. 15—King’s birthday—with a musical tribute to Dr. King by the nation’s most diverse orchestra, the Chicago Sinfonietta. The performance begins at 3 p.m. in Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Tickets are $50 and $40; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

Other MLK Week events include:

•    Monday, Jan. 16, Annual MLK Prayer Breakfast. North Central will feature a message by the Reverend Doctor Tracy Smith Malone, a 1990 alumna and pastor. She is the Chicago Southern District Superintendent of the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church and has served in associate, pastor and senior pastor positions. The free, hourlong breakfast starts at 7 a.m. on the second floor of the Harold and Eva White Activities Center, 325 E. Benton Ave. Reservations are required; call 630-637-5151.

•    Tuesday, Jan. 17, film screening titled “Suffering to Speak.” The screening is an episode from the “Tavis Smiley Show” and tells the stories behind poverty in America, featuring Smiley and Cornel West. The free program includes a discussion and begins at noon in Smith Hall at Old Main, 30 N. Brainard St.
•    Thursday, Jan. 19, keynote presentation by Tavis Smiley. Titled “America I AM: The African American Imprint,” this multimedia presentation and keynote address look at American culture through the nearly 500-year-old lens of African-American history. The keynote takes place at 7 p.m. in Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave. Tickets are free to the North Central community and $10 for the public; call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit
•    Friday, Jan. 20, Poetry Slam. Featuring New York’s Carlos Andres Gomez with other area poets and students, this annual MLK Week poetry slam begins at 7 p.m. at The Union, 129 W. Benton Ave., Naperville. Tickets are free to the North Central community and $10/person for the public; call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

•    Saturday, Jan. 21, Gospel Extravaganza. A variety of energetic and enthusiastic gospel performers and choirs will perform at 7 p.m. in Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave. Tickets are $15/adults, $8/students and senior citizens; call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

In 1960, Dr. King spoke at North Central College in Pfeiffer Hall, and in the 1960s North Central students traveled to Alabama to participate in civil rights demonstrations. The College was founded in 1861 by Evangelical Christians who believed strongly in abolition of slavery and equal rights regardless of race or gender.   

Nicor, Quarles & Brady and Sara Lee Foundation are underwriting sponsors of Martin Luther King Jr. Week at North Central College. This presentation is one of many ongoing programs at North Central College to enrich and broaden the cultural and academic outlook for the College and community. For a comprehensive schedule of musical performances, theatrical productions, art exhibits and lectures, visit or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).

North Central College is an independent, comprehensive college of the liberal arts and sciences that offers more than 55 undergraduate majors and graduate programming in six areas. With more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students, North Central College is committed to academic excellence, a climate that emphasizes leadership, ethics, values and service, a curriculum that balances job-related knowledge with a liberal arts foundation and a caring environment with small classes.