Honoring the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals. Without this hard work, time becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. So we must help time and realize that the time is always right to do right.
—Martin Luther King Jr., “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution,” 1965

Dear Emory Community, 

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and I hope you are finding meaningful ways to reflect on the legacy of one of our nation’s great leaders—a champion of civil rights whose words and actions were instrumental in setting America on a path toward equality, healing, and racial justice.

The work that Dr. King galvanized in the middle of the 20th century is still very much unfinished. As a country, we continue to contend with deep-seated discrimination and bias, as well as hate crimes that target people because of their race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and more. Yet, with Dr. King’s message of peaceful progress continuing to provide fresh inspiration for a new era of civil rights leaders, there is much to be hopeful about. 

During the past semester at Emory, we have strengthened our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion—grappling with our painful past while investing in resources and initiatives that will make our campus welcoming to Emory community members of all backgrounds. Below, you’ll find a video about selected work that’s taken place over the past year in addition to ongoing projects fostered by many dedicated students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are undertaking the “tireless efforts” to “do right” that Dr. King spoke of more than half a century ago.

I encourage you to participate in the university’s King Week events during the coming days. There are so many opportunities for dialogue and engagement at Emory and it is my hope that we, as a community, allow this MLK Day to set the tone for a year defined by self-reflection and progress.   


Gregory L. Fenves

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