Journalist Roland Martin Keynote Speaker for Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

Friday, January 13, 2017

Renowned journalist Roland Martin will be the keynote speaker for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at the University of North Carolina Wilmington on Thursday, Jan. 19.

Tickets are no longer available for the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration scheduled at 7 p.m. in Kenan Auditorium. 

Martin is the host and managing editor of TV One’s “News One Now,” the first daily morning news program in history to focus on news and analysis of politics, entertainment, sports and culture from an explicitly African American perspective.

This year’s MLK celebration theme, “Between Demonstration and Dramatization,” seeks to broaden the public’s understanding of what it means to have social justice movements use media to create support and awareness for dissonant political engagement, said Sean Palmer, director of the UNCW Upperman African American Center.

“King’s legacy was both a demonstration of civil disobedience, but also served as a place to dramatize love against hate, civility against violence, and possibility against past,” he explained. 

The MLK celebration theme fits neatly into the Upperman Center’s theme, “Yours to Tell: Narrating Black Lives in the 21st Century.” Throughout the year, the center will explore the question of who is capable of telling the story of the people of African descent. 

“Roland Martin is the perfect choice as an astute public intellectual who specializes in interrogating the connections between politics and media,” Palmer added.

Martin spent six years as a CNN contributor and earned the esteemed Peabody Award (2009) for his 2008 Presidential election coverage. He was honored with the National Association of Black Journalists’ Journalist of the Year Award in 2013.

Martin is also the creator and host of “The Roland Martin Show,” a daily syndicated radio broadcast; a nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate and The Daily Beast; and a senior analyst for the “Tom Joyner Morning Show.” His books include Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith; Speak, Brother! A Black Man's View of America; and The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House.

The celebration is hosted by the UNCW Upperman African American Center.

-- Venita Jenkins