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 (iguanatw@mit.edu) 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 (sfenty@mit.edu) 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.

Aerospace engineer Aprille Joy Ericsson ’86, a mission manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and an alumna of MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, recalled Wednesday how a conversation with Martin Luther King Jr. affected a Hollywood actress’s career decision — and in turn helped to inspire Ericsson and many others of her generation to enter the world of aerospace engineering.

Nichelle Nichols, the actress who played Lieutenant Uhura on the original Star Trek series, was not under contract, Ericsson explained in her keynote talk at MIT’s 43rd annual celebration of King’s life and work. “King shared with her that Star Trek was one of the few TV shows he would let his children watch, primarily because of her role as chief technical officer on the Starship Enterprise,” which was so different than most portrayals of African-American women on television. After her conversation with King, Nichols reconsidered her plans to leave the show. She went on to provide a role model that Ericsson said helped propel her and many others into a career in the space program.

“Space travel has become a routine part of our daily lives,” though it remains a dangerous occupation, Ericsson said. Recalling the daring commitment that President John F. Kennedy made, launching the U.S. toward landing on the moon, “I believe that challenge is before us again,” she said.

Ericsson graduated from MIT just four months after the first space shuttle disaster, the Challenger accident in 1986. She earned her doctorate at Howard University and soon after went to work for NASA. “I followed my dream to explore space,” she says. But that road was not without its obstacles. “Discrimination affects us all,” she said. And yet, “inclusion of women and minorities” in working teams of all kinds, “is imperative. When I work with science and engineering teams, I know that each one on that team is important.”

“We scientists are agents of change,” she said. “Let’s embrace [Star Trek creator] Gene Roddenberry’s vision of diversity in space. We must work together across the differences of skin color, gender, and religion. … We are making this journey together, in a drive to make this world a better place.”


Theme: “Lift your voice!” “True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”

Keynote: Dr. Aprille Joy Ericsson, Ph.D.

Program followed by Luncheon

The MIT community gathers every February at a celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Speakers have included leaders who are prominent both nationally and in the local Boston/Cambridge community, in accordance with Dr. King’s dual emphasis on global and local issues.

Dr. Aprille Joy Ericsson (MIT ’86) is currently the Capture (Mission) Manager for a proposed Astrophysics Mid-sized Class Explorer, STAR-X. Most recently, she served as the NASA GSFC Program Manager for Small Business Innovative Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Research (SBIR/STTR). Dr. Ericsson has held numerous positions during her 25+ year tenure with NASA. At Howard University, her research involved developing control methods for orbiting large space platforms like ISS. She sits on several Technical Academic boards at the National Academies, MIT, and previously Howard University, where she also served as a member of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Ericsson has won numerous awards and recognitions over the years, including the prestigious “2016 Washington Award” from the Western Society of Engineers. Dr. Ericsson received her B.S. in Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering from MIT in 1986. She went on to become the first female (and the first African-American female) to receive a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University, and the first African-American female to receive a Ph.D. in Engineering at NASA GSFC.

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MON, 13 FEB 2017: Ryan Hynd….

Monday, February 13, 11:45am-1pm
MIT Room 6-104 (Chipman Room)

When is the best time to stop?

Ryan Hynd, MLK Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Assistant Professor of Mathematics, University of Pennsylvania

Suppose that you are observing a sequence of events, and need to decide when to stop. Your goal could be to maximize an expected gain or give yourself good a chance to make the best choice possible.  We will discuss several instances of this type of problem and talk about ways to use math to solve them.

This talk will be accessible to a general audience.

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

Please note, this luncheon is distinct from the annual MLK Celebration Luncheon being held February 15. You can find information about this and other events related to community, equity, diversity, and inclusion at http://diversity.mit.edu/events/. If anyone is interested in helping shape the content of one of the upcoming Community Dialogues (the first is February 22), please reply to this email.

Special MLK Program Luncheon

Activism in the Era of MLK, A Conversation with Bob and Janet Moses, and Topper Carew

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
11:45am-1pm (h
ot lunch served starting 11:45am, program begins 12:10pm)
MIT Student Center Mezzanine Lounge, W20-307

Please RSVP here: http://diversity.mit.edu/event/mlk-1010/

Join us for a conversation with activists who worked in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and other organizations alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, and other civil rights leaders in the 1960s. Dr. Janet Moses is a pediatrician who worked in MIT Medical, Topper Carew is a filmmaker and Principal Investigator in the Media Lab, and Dr. Robert Moses is founder of the Algebra Project. All were active in Freedom Summer.

DR. TOPPER CAREW is currently a Visiting Researcher/Scholar at the MIT Media Lab. He has earned degrees in Architecture and Environmental Design from Yale and has had fully supporting fellowships at MIT (Community Fellow) and from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (Broadcast Fellow).  The former allowed Carew to complete three films and study at MIT’s then film school.  The latter allowed him to spend time at the BBC/London and at the studios in Hollywood. He also has a Doctorate in Communications from the Union Graduate School/Institute for Policy Studies. Dr. Carew started his film career by making documentaries about the relationship between neighborhood people and architecture, by using it as an empowerment, community organizing and fundraising tool, and by teaching film to inner city kids.  He was founder and Director of The New Thing Art and Architecture Center, an arts program in the Adams Morgan section of Washington, D.C.  Dr. Carew has won more than 40 film and television awards, and 8 Gold Medals for graphic design. He founded an independent production company, Rainbow Television Workshop. It produced series and movies for PBS, HBO, Showtime, Nick and The Disney Channel.  Other projects have aired in prime time on ABC, NBC, and FOX.  His theatrically released films include DC Cab (Universal Pictures) and Breakin‘ and Enterin’ (Shapiro/Glickenhaus). One of his prime time television series, Martin (FOX), enjoys the rarified distinction of having attained off network syndication (TNT,TV One, and MTV). Dr. Carew was appointed to a Presidential Commission on African American History and Culture. He has produced (8) national television series, (15) documentaries, 4 theatrically released films, 15 movies for television and 300 live concerts.

DR. ROBERT “BOB” MOSES and DR. JANET MOSES made tremendous contributions to the continuing civil rights movement. Their unwavering dedication to the progress of all Cambridge residents led to the Area IV Youth Center being renamed the “Dr. Robert and Janet Moses Youth Center”. Bob and Janet were both prominent figures in the Civil Rights Movement who served as field secretaries for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a position that allowed them to initiate SNCC’s Mississippi Voter Registration Project in 1961, and saw Bob become its director in 1962. A speaker at the first national student rally against the war in Vietnam (organized by Students for a Democratic Society, SDS, Spring 1965), Bob joined Staughton Lynd, Dave Dellinger and Women’s Strike For Peace to organize The Congress of Unrepresented People, spoke out against the war (1965-’66), and left the country in August 1966 when ordered to report to the Army. He and his wife, Dr. Janet Jemmott Moses, made their way to Tanzania where they served as teachers for its Ministry of Education until 1976. Bob and Janet returned to the Area IV neighborhood in Cambridge with their family (Maisha, Omo, Taba and Malaika) where Bob returned to Harvard’s Ph.D. Philosophy program in the summer of 1976. While Janet worked with the children on their language arts, Bob organized their mathematics education and used a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1982-87) to enter the King Open School as a parent volunteer, teach children algebra, and initiate the Algebra Project and the use of mathematics as an organizing tool for a Quality Public School Education (QECR) for all students. With support of the National Science Foundation (NSF) since 2002, the AP has been working with cohorts of high school students who previously performed in the lowest quartile on standardized exams; this work has led AP to propose a math high school “benchmark” for bottom quartile students: that they graduate high school on time, in four years, ready to do college math for college credit. The Algebra Project is primarily responsible for the birth of The Young People’s Project (YPP) in Cambridge; over the years, the AP has provided funding, technical assistance, professional development, mentoring and the guidance that has allowed YPP to grow and develop. It is the mission of YPP to use math literacy as a tool to develop young leaders and organizers who radically change the quality of education and life in the Cambridge community so that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Bob recently celebrated his 80th birthday at the MIT Media Lab with his loved ones and the greater Cambridge community.

#Misogynoir, #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, and other forms of Black Digital Feminisms

With Kishonna L. Gray
2016-17 MLK Visiting Scholar in Women & Gender Studies and Comparative Media Studies/Writing
Thursday, December 8 @ 5:00 pm
Location: MIT Building 3, Room 133 [Map]

Women of color have a variety of responses when employing digital technologies for empowerment. New communication technologies have expanded the opportunities and potential for marginalized communities to mobilize in this context counter to the dominant, mainstream media. This growth reflects the mobilization of marginalized communities within virtual and real spaces reflecting a systematic change in who controls the narrative. No longer are mainstream media the only disseminators of messages or producers of content. Women, in particular, are employing social media to highlight issues that are often ignored in dominant discourse. However, access itself neither ensures power nor guarantees a shift in the dominant ideology (as the use of #Misogynoir by Katy Perry reveals among other examples). Operating under the oppressive structures of masculinity, heterosexuality, and Whiteness that are sustained in digital spaces, marginalized women persevere and resist such hegemonic realities. Yet the conceptual frameworks intended to capture the digital lives of women cannot deconstruct the structural inequalities of these spaces.

Kishonna L. Gray (Ph.D., Arizona State University) is currently a MLK Visiting Scholar in Women & Gender Studies and Comparative Media Studies/Writing. She is also the Founder of the Critical Gaming Lab at Eastern Kentucky University. She is expanding on the work created here to develop new initiatives surrounding Equity in Gaming (www.equityingaming.com). Her work broadly intersects identity and new media although she has a particular focus on gaming. Her most recent book, Race, Gender, & Deviance in Xbox Live (Routledge, 2014), provides a much-needed theoretical framework for examining deviant behavior and deviant bodies within that virtual gaming community.