The president and chief executive officer of the NAACP, former US Rep. Kweisi Mfume, will be the keynote speaker at MIT's 25th annual celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Thursday, Feb. 4, 1999.
In making the announcement, Associate Dean Leo M. Osgood Jr., chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee, said, "Congressman Mfume is an outstanding speaker with an impressive background. I'm sure his speech will help make the 25th celebration a memorable event."
Mr. Mfume will deliver his remarks at the celebratory breakfast, hosted by President and Mrs. Charles M. Vest, who will also speak. It will be held at Walker Memorial Moors Hall at 7:45am.
Mr. Mfume, whose West African name means "conquering son of kings," resigned as the US representative from Maryland's seventh Congressional district in 1996 when he was named to the NAACP positions. He had been a member of Congress for 10 years and chaired the joint Senate-House Economic Committee.
He also served on the Ethics Committee, the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Committee on Education and the Small Business Committee, and he chaired the Congressional Black Caucus for two years. Before he was elected to Congress, Mr. Mfume was a Baltimore city councilman for seven years.
A native of Baltimore, Mr. Mfume graduated cum laude in 1976 from Morgan State University, where he edited the student newspaper and headed the Black Student Union. He also holds a master's degree in international studies from Johns Hopkins University.
Mr. Mfume serves on the Morgan State University Board of Regents, the Senior Advisory Committee of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the Meyor-hoff National Advisory Board of the University of Maryland, and the Board of Trustees for the Enterprise Foundation. He is also a member of Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
Also at the breakfast, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Awards will be presented to a faculty member, an alumnus/alumna and a student whose achievements exemplify the ideals of Dr. King by their contributions to MIT, their professions and the broader community. Members of the MIT community are invited to submit nominations by campus mail to Associate Dean Arnold R. Henderson Jr. in Rm E19-215C. E-mail nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org will also be accepted. Academic research, religious and secular contributions will be considered. The deadline is December 23.
Mr. Mfume is the second high-level NAACP executive to address the MIT breakfast. Benjamin J. Hooks, the NAACP executive director from 1977-93, was the speaker in 1991. Others speakers have included Dr. King's widow, Coretta Scott King (1994); former chief judge of the US Court of Appeals Leon J. Higginbotham Jr. (1983 and 1995); former Congressman William H. Gray III (1993) and poet Nikki Giovanni (1990).
The Dr. Martin Luther King Visiting Professors will be honored guests at the breakfast.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 9, 1998.