2017 43rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.
Capture Manager, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
MLK Leadership Awardees
Arthur D. Little Professor of Chemical Engineering, Department Executive Officer, MIT
School of Engineering, MIT-EMS Director of Ambulance Operations
Year 4, Mechanical Engineering
Director, Student Life for Master's Programs, MIT Sloan
MIT Medical, Clinical Director for Campus Life
Retired Executive Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton
Letter from a Birmingham Jail
The 2016 United States presidential election divided the nation on a great number of issues, particularly around racism, discrimination, class, and immigration. While some in the MIT community welcome the new administration in Washington, others do not. Students, faculty, and staff on campus have expressed deep concerns about the future, prompting MIT President L. Rafael Reif to issue a call to action, "With our eyes on the future".
MIT's 2017 MLK Celebration theme “True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice” is drawn from Dr. Martin Luther King's famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail". It was in response to a denunciation issued by eight white religious leaders of the South regarding the "unwise and untimely" nature of Dr. King's activism. Written on April 16, 1963, the letter appeared in the August 1963 issue of The Atlantic as "The Negro Is Your Brother". Today we look to this classic document of the civil-rights movement with our eyes on the future.
David L. Chandler | MIT News Office
February 16, 2017
“Discrimination affects us all”
Celebration of MLK features NASA mission manager Aprille Joy Ericsson ’86.
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.