The 36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration honors the legacy of Dr. King and the impact he has made on those who carry the torch for humanity. The theme of the Commemoration is Dr. King’s concept of the Beloved Community. The Commemoration will take place on Monday, January 16, 2023, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. in Graham Chapel on the Washington University Danforth Campus. Livestream is available here for those unable to attend in person.

Geoff K. Ward, Ph.D., (Professor of African and African-American Studies, Faculty Affiliate in Sociology and American Culture Studies, and Director of the WashU & Slavery Project) will provide the keynote address.

Washington University Chancellor Andrew D. Martin, Provost Beverly Wendland, and Rev. Callista Isabelle, Washington University Director for Religious, Spiritual and Ethical Life, will provide remarks. The commemoration includes performances by Black Anthology, the Washington University student run production group and the Washington University Concert Choir. A reception in the Danforth University Center (DUC) follows the program. The event is free and open to the public.

Past Keynote Speakers

  • Attorney Margaret Bush Wilson (2006)
  • Professor John Baugh (2008)
  • Professor Camille Nelson (2009)
  • Professor Bob Hansman (2010)
  • Professor Shanti Parikh & Judge Jimmie Edwards (2011)
  • Chancellor Emeritus William Danforth (2012)
  • Professor and Vice Provost Adrienne Davis (2013)
  • Dr. Lerone Martin (2014)
  • Professor Kimberly Jade Norwood (2015)
  • Dr. Jason Purnell (2016)
  • Rev. Traci D. Blackmon (2017)
  • Dr. Rev. Barbara Reynolds (2019)
  • Chancellor Andrew D. Martin (2020)
  • Dr. Peniel E. Joseph and Dr. Lerone A. Martin (2021)
  • Professor John Baugh (2022)

Rosa L. Parks Award

The Rosa L. Parks Award is given to persons and/or organizations that exemplify the valor of both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa L. Parks.

Past Rosa L. Parks Award Recipients:
Margaret Bush Wilson (inaugural recipient, 2006)
Dean James McLeod and Chancellor Emeritus William Danforth (2007)
Malik & DeBorah Ahmed and Better Family Life
Dean Adrienne Glore (retired) and Judy Bentley of CHIPS (2009)
Professor Bob Hansman and his son Jovan Hansman for City Faces (2010)
Professor Shanti Parikh and Judge Jimmie Edwards (2011)
Ron Himes (2012)
Melvin White, Beloved Streets of America (2013)
Jamala Rogers (2014)
Norman R. Seay (2015)
Sylvester Brown Jr., Sweet Potato Project (2016)
Leah Merrifield, Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement (2017)
James Clark, (2018)
Mark S. Wrighton, Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis and Risa Zwerling Wrighton (2019)

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Service Award

Kiland Sampa (2016)
Mya Petty (2017)
Audrey Ming Lan Goedegebuure (2018)