Martin Luther King, Jr Commemoration Past Speakers


Past Keynote Speakers and Award Winners

Julian Bond, Former National Director of the NAACP; keynote


Andrew Young, Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, U.S. Congressman, and Mayor of Atlanta, GA; keynote

Gwen Anderson, Director of the Utah Valley University Multicultural Center, received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for the Advancement of Justice and Human Dignity.


Linda Brown, daughter of Rev. Oliver Brown, a plaintiff in the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Topeka Board of Education; keynote


The 2009 Commemoration included three renowned Utah civil rights activists as keynotes: France Davis, David Dominguez, and Rocky Anderson. Clusters of presenters and performers featured many aspects of civil rights in Utah, such as the role of the arts, the role of the media, and the role of the LDS Church, especially blacks receiving the priesthood after nearly150 years of exclusion.

Among the many speakers at UVU were KRCL founder Stephen Holbrook, Diversity Times publisher Albert Jones, Utah NAACP President Jeanetta Williams, political cartoonist Pat Bagley, actor and gay rights/anti-war activist Jeff Key, Utah historian Ronald Coleman, and minority media expert Kenneth Campbell. UVU students and faculty also presented, including a panel on discrimination of the deaf. Two recent films shown and discussed included The Wisdom of Our Years and Nobody Knows. The first is an oral history of lives of Utah African Americans, and the second is about the exclusion of African men from the LDS priesthood and their transformative 1978 inclusion.

UVU’s tradition of highlighting the arts in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration continued with student and faculty performances, exhibits, and an arts performance reception, all in our beautiful new library. Finding Voice, a musical written by Cache Valley survivors of domestic violence, was directed by Nancy Cannon and performed by UVU students. This moving ethno-drama related women’s true experiences of despair and healing. Finally, Ogden’s jazz octogenarian Joe McQueen brought his saxophone and played for us, and UVU’s own poet/sonosopher Alex Caldiero performed black poetry in the Commemoration’s grand finale.

Delores Huerta, Co-Founder of The United Farm Workers; keynote

Marian Jackson
was awarded last year's Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Award for the Advancement of Justice and Human Dignity. Marian is an educator whose work with migrant school children and farm workers brought them hope and assistance, and in doing so she exemplified the principles of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Vincent Harding

Author of Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero; keynote

UVSC Black Student Union

Received the fourth annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for the Advancement of Justice and Human Dignity

Marlene Neptune

Former president of the UVSC Black Student Union, received the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Student/Alumni Award

Morris Dees

Co-founder and Chief Trial Lawyer, Southern Poverty Law Cente; keynote

Ingrid Guzman

Director of Centro Hispano, received the third annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for the Advancement of Justice and Human Dignity

John Echohawk

Co-founder and Executive Director, Native American Rights Fund; keynote
Mr. Echohawk and NARF were the recipients of the second annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for the Advancement of Justice and Human Dignity

Joseph Vogel

of UVSC also received a Special Commendation for the Advancement of Free Speech

Yolanda King

Actress, Author, and Activist (Daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King); keynote
First annual recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for the Advancement of Justice and Human Dignity

Samuel Pieh

Descendant of Cinque, leader of the Amistad revolt; keynote

Dr. Wilma King

Strickland Professor of African-American History and Culture, University of Missouri-Columbia; keynote

Elizabeth Eckford

Member of the Little Rock Nine; keynote

Claybourne Carson

Stanford Scholar and Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project; keynote

Dr. Jean Van Delinder

Professor of Sociology at Oklahoma State University; keynote

Emory Campbell

Director of the Penn Historical Center, St. Helena Island, SC; keynote