Plantation Weddings and the Arc of Antebellum Desire

Kimberly J. BrownMLK Visiting Assistant Professor, Women’s & Gender Studies and by Literature at MIT

Thursday, December 7, 2017 @ 12-1:30 pm
MIT Room E51-095
Lunch provided, please RSVP to

Plantations wedding venues, particularly in the US South, spatially reconstruct antebellum slave mansions as serene sites of joy. This talk will examine the politics of race, gender, and patriarchy that center on the unfreedom of others.



Double Elegy: African American Cultural Production and the Poetics of Loss

Kimberly J. BrownMLK Visiting Assistant Professor, Women’s & Gender Studies and by Literature at MIT

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 @ 5-6:30 pm
MIT Room 14N-417

This talk considers the elegy as the doubling mechanism of African American cultural engagement. At once firmly situated within and excluded from a visible poetics of loss, black writers and artists pursue alternate structures of memory-making and mourning rituals. These include music, photography, and performance. Ultimately, these multivalent productions of mourning allow for the possibility of consolation, but resolution is always in flux. The talk will examine the fissures and fixations of black suffering.



The Gender/Race Imperative: The Future of Title IX

Anita Hill participated in CNN’s town hall titled “Tipping Point: Sexual Harassment in America” on November 9, 2017.

In light of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men in the media and government, Hill said that the strong focus on sexual misconduct is like nothing she’s ever seen and she’s hopeful that it will “bring lasting change.” She also stated that, although the believability factor needs to shift in all sexual misconduct cases, marginalized groups are met with an additional level of skepticism.
It’s been 26 years since Hill testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her when he was her boss. Today, Thomas sits on the Supreme Court bench.





Undoing ‘Generations of Rank Discrimination’: Inclusive Communities and the Future of Anti-Bias Forensics

Anita HillMLK Visiting Professor of Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) 

Tuesday, October 17
MIT Room 6-104 (Chipman Room)

In June, in a decision that promises to energize American desegregation efforts, the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed a broad interpretation of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The Court confirmed that the law proscribes not only overt, intentional acts of discrimination but also policies and practices that are “fair in form, but discriminatory in operation.” I will discuss how the Court’s decision could change the way housing, employment and education bias cases are argued and proven. The talk’s title is inspired by the words of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who during the case’s oral arguments reminded listeners that the “grand goal” of the Fair Housing Act was to “undo generations of rank discrimination.

This talk will be accessible to a general audience. We ask that you register here. If you are able to attend, please reply to Shauna Bush-Fenty ( with any dietary restrictions, accessibility considerations or other needs.


The Gender/Race Imperative: The Future of Title IX

Anita Hill will be moderating a series of presentations and workshops entitled The Gender/Race Imperative. It aims to revive awareness of the broad capacity of Title IX, the crucial law mandating equal education opportunities for women. The hope is that the series will kick start inquiry to foster legal, policy, and social reforms that enable success in schools and workplaces for girls and women of all races and economic backgrounds. To engage and educate MIT and the broader Boston area community on the role of Title IX in education, particularly for STEM, MIT brings engineers and other scientists together in conversation with lawyers and social scientists to develop multidimensional strategies for promoting equity in STEM.

First in the series is “The Future of Title X”
Tuesday October 3rd, 2017
Doors open at 3:30PM
Presentation starts at 4:00PM
Walker Memorial – Building 50

Open to the public, no registration required

Hosted by:
  • Muriel Medard – Cecil H. Green Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, Research Laboratory of Electronics, MIT
  •  Anita Hill – MIT Martin Luther King Fellow, University Professor of Law, Public Policy and Women’s Studies, Heller Graduate School of Policy and Management, Brandeis University
Guest speakers:
  • Catherine Lhamon – Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Former Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education
  • Deborah Slaner Larkin – Chief, Advocacy Officer at the Women’s Sports Foundation
  • Fatima Goss Graves – Director of the National Women’s Law Center
Lhamon, Larkin, and Graves are national authorities on Title IX, each of whom brings a different perspective on how this civil rights law works and how to strengthen its effectiveness.  In this first in a series of programs, these speakers will familiarize the audience with the many ways which Title IX insures that no person “shall be excluded from participation, in be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”  As well, each speaker will provide an assessment of Title IX’s influence going forward.





Tuesday, September 19, 2017
11:45 am – 1 pm
MIT Room 6-104 (Chipman Room)

Please join us in our first 2017-2018 monthly MLK Scholars luncheon on Tuesday, September 19 in 6-104. All members of the MIT community are welcome!

Lunch will be served. Please inform us of any dietary restrictions or preferences.


Thursday, April 27, 2017
6:30-8:30 pm
MIT Student Center – W20-306


Come for dinner and to enjoy the visual art and performances of MIT and Wellesley students.

All visual, literary art and performance art is inspired by the ideals of Dr. King and/or other civil rights leaders in the past or current human rights activists in the US and the World. These ideals include freedom, justice, peace, equality, civil rights, human rights and/or social justice.


DEADLINE TO ENTER: Monday, April 24, 2017 [entry form]


Win cash prizes up to $250.00 each!

The Fifth Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. – Inspired Art and Performance Contest

Are you inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr or other civil rights leaders such as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez, Fannie Lou Hamer and Harvey Milk?

Express yourself by entering

  • visual art (painting, photography, sculpture, video)
  • performance art (music, song, spoken word, dance, theater)
  • literary work (poetry, short story, speech, play)

The contest is open to all MIT Undergraduates, Graduate Students, and Wellesley students cross registered at MIT this semester.

Your entry should be related to or inspired by any of the ideals of Dr. King and/or other civil rights leaders in the past or current human rights activists in the US and the World. These ideals include freedom, justice, peace, equality, civil rights, human rights and/or social justice.

Here is your chance to show off your creativity and artistic skills to the MIT community, have fun and win money!

Please send long literary entries (short stories, plays, speeches) to Tobie Weiner ( prior to the contest.



Sat, April 22, 2017
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM EDT

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MIT DUSP City Arena
105 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 9-255
Cambridge, MA 02139

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The Spirit of Detroit: 1950 to 2050 is a one-day symposium which focuses on the City of Detroit’s past, present, and future. The symposium is an outgrowth of the work of Kenneth E. Reeves, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Scholar in the Department of Urban Studies & Planning at MIT. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Detroit 1967 riot, and the symposium focuses on Detroit’s heyday in the 1950’s and 1960’s and the city’s journey from 1967 into a potentially promising yet uncertain future. The symposium will feature knowledgeable speakers from Detroit on a morning panel and an afternoon panel to explore a wide range of topics on the city from 1950 to 2050. Camilo José Vergara, author of Detroit Is No Dry Bones: The Eternal City of the Industrial Age, will give a keynote address during lunch. The overarching goal of this event will be to look back in order to look forward.





Kenneth Reeves
Visiting Scholar of Urban Studies and Planning 

Detroit – July 23rd, 1967

This year will be the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot. In 1967, Detroit had a large population of home-owning black middle-class and blue-collar residents, and the city was synonymous with the American Dream. This was due in large part to strong unions, high employment, and a thriving auto industry. How then did a police raid on a blind pig, an after-hours bar, cause four days of mayhem which irreparably harmed Detroit from 1967 to the present day? Despite the many rationals that were used to explain the riot, the causes are socially, economically, and racially complicated. I will take a vivid eyewitness approach to examining the riot, which erupted three blocks from my childhood home. Additionally, I will share my analysis of Detroit stemming from monthly visits to the city over the past two years. We will discuss the future of Detroit in the aftermath of this crisis, and we will extrapolate the lessons learned from Detroit to other American cities like Ferguson and Baltimore. In essence, we will be looking back to look in order to forward.

This talk will be accessible to a general audience.

If you are able to attend, please reply to Shauna Bush-Fenty ( with any dietary restrictions, accessibility considerations or other needs.

The Intersection of 12th Street and Clairmount, Saturday, July 23, 1967. Courtesy of the Detroit Free Press

Black and White: Photography from the Chesapeake Bay watershed by Bill Emory
“zoning” – 23 February 2017

William Harris, Sr., along with attorney Kim Rolla, presented “The Facts on Gentrification, Zoning, and Form-Based Code” at the Jefferson School in Chesapeake Bay.