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Dick Gregory to speak at MLK event

(Jan. 1, 2005)   —   Dick Gregory, a longtime civil rights activist and comedian, will speak at 7 p.m. on Jan. 10 at the Murphy Center as part of East Carolina University's observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Gregory will draw from his own experience serving others to inspire ECU students to do the same during the Jan. 17 Martin Luther King holiday, said David Dennard, ECU history professor.

"Dick Gregory has been a brilliant comedian, but he has also been very engaged as a social activist," said Dennard, who coordinates ECU's Martin Luther King Day observance.

"Mr. Gregory has written several books dealing with African Americans and our plight in the United States. And as a social and human rights activist, he has been for decades something of a 'candle in the dark' in the global community," Dennard said. "The MLK Committee thought he'd have an exciting and relevant message for us at ECU as we kick off our Martin Luther King Day activities."

ECU's Volunteer and Service-Learning Center will coordinate opportunities for ECU students to volunteer on Jan. 17. Students can contact the center at any time for the "Martin Luther King Day Challenge" or report to Christenbury Gym at 9 a.m. on Jan. 17.

"Because Martin Luther King Day has always been billed as a day 'on,' not a day 'off,' we want to get students involved and encourage them to volunteer at a senior center, a homeless shelter, food pantry, or some other community facility," Dennard said.

In addition to volunteer opportunities Jan. 17, the evening program will begin with a memorial candlelight vigil and march at 5:30 p.m. on College Hill. A musical tribute to Martin Luther King will follow at the Fletcher Recital Hall. Tenor Darryl Taylor will perform "American Giants: Paul Laurence Dunbar and Langston Hughes" at 7 p.m. The director of this program is ECU music professor Louise Toppin.

Martin Luther King Day events are coordinated by the university's MLK Planning Committee. All events are free and open to the public.



Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481