The 37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration honors the legacy of Dr. King and the impact he has made on those who carry the torch for humanity. The theme of the Commemoration is The Dream at Work. The Commemoration will occur on Monday, January 15, 2024 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. in Graham Chapel on the Washington University Danforth Campus. Livestream is available here for those unable to attend in person. The event is free and open to the public.

Adia Harvey Wingfield, Ph.D., Washington University Vice Dean of Faculty Development and Diversity and Professor of Sociology, will provide the keynote address.

Other speakers will include Chancellor Andrew D. Martin, Ph.D., Kia Caldwell, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Diversity, Professor of African and African-American Studies, and the Reverend Callista Isabelle, Director for Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life.

The Greenwood Cemetery Preservation Association will receive the Rosa L. Parks Award for “Meritorious Service to the Community.”

The commemoration will include student performances by Black Anthology and the Washington University Concert Choir. Emily Chen, President of the Student Union and Taylor Robinson, President of the Association of Black Students will be co-hosts.

Please join us beforehand for a community service project  from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm in Tisch Commons in the Danforth University Center (DUC). We will be making dental hygiene kits for the Youth and Family Center, care packages for the unhoused, blankets for area animal shelters, and cards for local senior citizens.

Past Keynote Speakers

  • Attorney Margaret Bush Wilson (2006)
  • Professor John Baugh (2008)
  • Professor Camille Nelson (2009)
  • Professor Bob Hansman (2010)
  • Professor Shanti Parikh & Judge Jimmie Edwards (2011)
  • Chancellor Emeritus William Danforth (2012)
  • Professor and Vice Provost Adrienne Davis (2013)
  • Dr. Lerone Martin (2014)
  • Professor Kimberly Jade Norwood (2015)
  • Dr. Jason Purnell (2016)
  • Rev. Traci D. Blackmon (2017)
  • Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds (2019)
  • Chancellor Andrew D. Martin (2020)
  • Dr. Peniel E. Joseph and Dr. Lerone A. Martin (2021)
  • Professor John Baugh (2022)
  • Professor Geoff K. Ward (2023)

Rosa L. Parks Award

The Rosa L. Parks Award is given to persons and/or organizations that exemplify the valor of both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa L. Parks.

Past Rosa L. Parks Award Recipients:

  • Margaret Bush Wilson (inaugural recipient, 2006)
  • Dean James McLeod and Chancellor Emeritus William Danforth (2007)
  • Malik & DeBorah Ahmed and Better Family Life
  • Dean Adrienne Glore (retired) and Judy Bentley of CHIPS (2009)
  • Professor Bob Hansman and his son Jovan Hansman for City Faces (2010)
  • Professor Shanti Parikh and Judge Jimmie Edwards (2011)
  • Ron Himes (2012)
  • Melvin White, Beloved Streets of America (2013)
  • Jamala Rogers (2014)
  • Norman R. Seay (2015)
  • Sylvester Brown Jr., Sweet Potato Project (2016)
  • Leah Merrifield, Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement (2017)
  • James Clark, (2018)
  • Mark S. Wrighton, Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis and Risa Zwerling Wrighton (2019)
  • Dr. Kelvin Adams and Dr. Deidra Thomas-Murray, St. Louis Public Schools (2023)

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Service Award

  • Kiland Sampa (2016)
  • Mya Petty (2017)
  • Audrey Ming Lan Goedegebuure (2018)