MLK Commemoration

Check back for information regarding MLK 2018


Nikki Giovanni is a world-renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator. Over the past 30 years, the outspoken nature of her writing and speaking has brought the eyes of the world upon her. One of the most widely read American poets, she prides herself on being “a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English.” The Academy of American Poets voted Giovanni #1 poet for the spring of 2007. Giovanni remains as determined and committed as ever to the fight for civil rights and equality. Always insisting on presenting the truth as she sees it, she has maintained a prominent place as a strong voice of the black community. Her focus is on the individual—specifically, the power one has to make a difference in oneself and in the lives of others.

Giovanni has written more than two dozen books, including volumes of poetry, illustrated children’s books, and three collections of essays. Her book Racism 101 includes bold, controversial essays about the situation of Americans on all sides of various race issues. She has received 21 honorary doctorates and a host of other awards, including Woman of the Year titles from three different magazines and the Governors’ Awards in the Arts from both Tennessee and Virginia. Rosa, her biography of legendary civil rights activist Rosa Parks, won Caldecott Honors and the Coretta Scott King Medal for best illustrated book. Other books include the collection of adult poetry Acolytes and the novel On My Journey Now: Looking at African American History Through the Spirituals. Three of her volumes of poetry—Love Poems, Blues: For All the Changes, and Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea—were winners of the NAACP Image Award in 1998, 2000, and 2003. Her newly released collection, Bicycles: Love Poems, has been called one of her “most powerful offerings to date” by Essence magazine. Since 1987, Nikki Giovanni has taught writing and literature at Virginia Tech, where she is a distinguished professor. As a devoted and passionate writer, teacher, and speaker, she inspires not only her students but also readers and audiences nationwide. Her album Truth Is on Its Way, in which she reads her poetry against a background of gospel music, was a top 100 album and was named Best Spoken Word Album by the National Association of Radio and Television Announcers. The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, a spoken-word CD, was a finalist for the 2003 Grammy Award in the category of spoken word.

Essay Contest

Please stay tuned for the 2017 Essay Contest.

Previous Essay Contest Winner

Winner Year Essay
Houston Littlejohn 2014
Natasha Adams 2015
TBA 2016

MLK Jr. Day of Service
Monday January 16, 2017

8 a.m. – 5 p.m.


The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is a way to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings into community service that helps empower and strengthen local communities. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities.

Become a Volunteer

As a volunteer you will have the opportunity to provide two hours of service to community partners in the Statesboro area. Click here to sign up.

Day of Service Schedule

Check back soon for updates

Previous Speakers

The following are a list of previous MLK Jr. Commemoration Speakers at Georgia Southern University:

Speaker Year
Myrlie Evers-Williams 2006
Bernice King 2007
Dr. Cornell West 2008
Tavis Smiley 2009
Michael Eric Dyson 2010
Dr. Angela Davis 2011
Dick Gregory 2012
Soledad O’Brien 2013
Ambassador Andrew Young 2014
Michele Norris 2015
Dr. Steve Perry 2016
Nikki Giovanni 2017


Last updated: 8/11/2017

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