Arts and Entertainment

University Libraries to host 2017 MLK commemoration events, exhibit

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to an estimated 9,000 people on Jan. 21, 1965, inside Penn State's newly expanded Recreation Hall on the University Park campus. Credit: Penn State University Archives / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State's University Libraries will host four events, incorporating film, the arts and a featured speaker, to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King during Penn State's 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration at the University Park campus.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 16) two events in Pattee Library and Paterno Library will include a 1994 documentary film and a choral concert, followed by a featured speaker on Jan. 18:

  • Hourly presentations of “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: A Historical Perspective” will be shown from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library. The DVD recording, acquired by the University Libraries as part of its collection, will be added to its catalog for future visitor availability.
  • Also, from 1 to 1:30 p.m. in Franklin Atrium, 106 Pattee Library, visitors can enjoy musical selections from Penn State’s Essence of Joy. Now in its 26th year, Essence of Joy is a choral ensemble in the Penn State School of Music that performs sacred and secular music from the African and African-American traditions under the direction of Professor of Music and Music Education Anthony Leach.

Essence of Joy, a student chorus that focuses on music of African and African-American tradition, performs at Pattee Library on Martin Luther King Day 2016. For more information about Martin Luther King Jr. Day events at Penn State visit Credit: Bill Zimmerman / Penn StateCreative Commons

  • On Wednesday, Jan. 18, Tom Houck, a 1966-1968 aide to King and his family, will share his knowledge and passion on King's life and times at 7:30 p.m. in Foster Auditorium, E102 Paterno Library. The event is co-sponsored by the Presidential Leadership Academy, Schreyer Honors College, Paterno Family Professorship, Hillel and the University Libraries.

Houck, who moved from Boston to Florida as a teen, was expelled from his Jacksonville high school for taking part in a 1965 march in Selma that was organized in response to Bloody Sunday. After continuing to volunteer for civil rights causes, he arrived in Atlanta in 1966 to help with Southern Christian Leadership Conference voter registration efforts. On his first day there, the shaggy-haired 19-year-old was waiting for a lift in front of the SCLC headquarters on Auburn Avenue when King spotted him and invited Houck home for lunch. That afternoon he started working with the King family.

In addition, the annual poster exhibit “University Libraries Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month" will be on display Jan. 9 through Feb. 28 in the lobby display cases of central Pattee Library. The exhibit highlights graphic design entries by Penn State students for the 32nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration poster, this year designed by Hayle Stoner, a senior graphic design major.

For a complete list of events held on campus to celebrate the 32nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration at Penn State, visit For more information on the events being held in the libraries, or for questions about accommodations or the physical access provided, contact Jacqueline Peagler at 814-867-0813 or in advance of your visit.

The Jan. 9-Feb. 28 poster exhibit “University Libraries Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month," in the lobby display cases of central Pattee Library Jan. 9 through Feb. 28 includes the 32nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration poster by Hayle Stoner, senior graphic design major. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated January 13, 2017