Bobby Joe Leaster, who served 15 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, will be the guest speaker at the Center for Reflective Practices (CRP) all-day conference on Saturday, the final event in MIT's 26th annual celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The celebration's main event is the annual breakfast at 7:30am tomorrow (February 3) in Morss Hall in Walker Memorial. The theme is "Engineering Bold Leadership For the 21st Century/A Blueprint for Full Participation in Academia, Government and Industry."
The keynote speaker will be Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson, who received the SB and PhD in physics from MIT and went on to become the first African-American woman to head the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. President Charles M. Vest will introduce her after delivering his own remarks.
Other speakers include sophomore Ebraheem Fontaine and graduate student Tamara Williams, who will offer their personal reflections on Dr. King's life and legacy. The mistress of ceremonies will be junior Carla Merritt.
Professor Rafael Bras, Senior Ticora V. Jones and NASA administrator Woodrow Whitlow Jr. (SB 1974, SM, PhD) will receive MLK Leadership Awards for faculty, students and alumni/ae, respectively. These awards will be presented by Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow.
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professors have been invited to attend the breakfast. They will be introduced by Chancellor Robert A. Brown.
The MIT Gospel Choir will perform at the breakfast. The Rev. Jane Gould will offer the invocation and benediction.
Following the breakfast, these events are scheduled for Thursday:
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ An exhibit in Lobby 10 designed by 30 students who participated in an IAP seminar coordinated by Tobie F. Weiner of political science. The exhibit, which dramatizes the belief that the struggle for freedom begins with individual commitment, will be on display through Friday.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Students will participate in a special dedication to honor Dr. King's memory from noon-1pm in Lobby 10.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Members of the Consecration Ministries, under the direction of Je'Nise Robertson, will enlighten the community with their spirited dancing from 4:30-5pm in Lobby 7. This event originally was scheduled for Lobby 10.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ The South Mass Choir under the direction of Darryll Maston, will sing a cappella selections of joy and harmony from 5-5:30pm in Lobby 7. This also was originally scheduled for Lobby 10.
The theme for Saturday's CRP program is "Community Justice." It will consist of environmental, political and economic justice workshops for adults and sessions for middle and high school students on adolescent wellness, youth entrepreneurship and technical careers. Registration willl be from from 9-9:30am on the third floor of the Stratton Student Center. Admission is free and the sessions are open to the public. Lunch will be provided.
Mr. Leaster will speak from 2:15-3pm on "Ultimate Justice." Charges against him were dismissed in 1986 after attorneys showed that he was convicted of first-degree murder as a result of an erroneous eyewitness identification.
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professors are:
Dr. Relva C. Buchanan, materials science and engineering (MSE); Dr. Lloyd Demetrius, bioengineering and environmental health; Harvey Gantt, architecture; Dr. Starling D. Hunter III, Sloan School; Dr. Olusegun J. Ilegbusi, MSE; Karyn Lacy, urban studies and planning; Dr. Arthur Mutambara, aeronautics and astronautics, and Guillermo Gï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½mez-Peï¿½a, artist in residence.
Members of the Presidential Planning Committee for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration are Dean Leo Osgood Jr. and Professor Michael S. Feld, co-chairs; Professors Jerome I. Friedman, Wesley L. Harris and Richard D. Milner; Associate Professor Ceasar L. McDowell; Assistant Professors Melissa Nobles and Larry Anderson; Associate Dean Arnold R. Henderson Jr.; Assistant Dean Ann Davis Shaw; Maru Colbert; Ronald Crichlow; Rev. Gould; Trudy Morris; Paul Parravano; Robert J. Sales; Tobie F. Weiner; sophomore Huanne T. Thomas; graduate student Felix AuYeung; Associate Provost Dr. Philip L. Clay; and Special Assistant to the President Dr. Clarence Williams (ex officio).
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 2, 2000.