U-M Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium

Memorial Keynote Lecture Stream

2021 Memorial Keynote Lecture

Event Program [PDF]

Monday, January 18th, 2021 | 10am-11:30 am (EST)

This year’s symposium features two speakers, Gloria House, poet, essayist, educator and human rights activist, and Malik Yakini, co-founder and Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN). See below for their bios.

Sponsored by the University of Michigan Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium; the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, a unit in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business with support from the William K. McInally Memorial Lecture Fund.

Keynote Speakers

Gloria House, Ph.D. named the Kresge Foundation Eminent Artist of 2019, is a poet, essayist, educator and human rights activist who lives in Detroit. Dr. House completed her bachelor and master’s degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, in French and Comparative Literature respectively. Her doctorate in American Cultural History was earned at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr. House designed the major in African American and African Studies (AAAS) at the University of Michigan – Dearborn, and served as Director of the AAAS Program before retiring in 2014. She is Professor Emerita of Humanities and African American Studies at University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Associate Professor Emerita in Interdisciplinary Studies at Wayne State University, where she was a faculty member and advocate for racial equity for 27 years.

Dr. House published Home Sweet Sanctuary: Idlewild Families Celebrate a Century, a cultural study of the historic African American community in northern Michigan in 2011. She has published four poetry collections, Blood River (1983), Rainrituals (1989), Shrines (2004), and Medicine (2017), as well as a book on spatial politics in the United States, Tower and Dungeon: A Study of Place and Power in American Culture (1991). Her essays and single poems have appeared in numerous local and national anthologies and periodicals. She is editor of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award Series of Broadside Lotus Press, co-editor of the Detroit periodical, Riverwise, and lead editor of the anthology, A Different Image: The Legacy of Broadside Press (2004), which received the Notable Book of Michigan Award from the Library of Michigan in 2005. She is currently an organizer in the Detroit Independent Freedom Schools Movement, the Black Legacy Coalition, and the Coalition for Police Transparency and Accountability.

Malik Kenyatta Yakini is co-founder and Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN). DBCFSN operates a seven-acre urban farm and is spearheading the opening of the Detroit People’s Food Co-op, a cooperatively grocery story in Detroit’s North End. Yakini views the work of DBCFSN as part of the larger movement for building power, self-determination, and justice. He is adamantly opposed to the system of white supremacy, capitalism and patriarchy. He has an intense interest in contributing to the development of an international food sovereignty movement that embraces Black communities in the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa. He is a co-founder of the National Black Food and Justice Alliance.