UVA professor of hip-hop A.D. Carson will deliver the MLK Week keynote address on Thursday, Jan. 25 in Blackwell Ballroom.
UVA professor of hip-hop A.D. Carson will deliver the MLK Week keynote address on Thursday, Jan. 25 in Blackwell Ballroom.

A.D. Carson, the UVA professor of hip-hop who first rose to fame for his doctoral dissertation that took the form of a 34-track rap album, will bring his performance art and perspective to Longwood this January as the apex of a week of activities celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Hip-hop has been studied on a growing number of college campuses since the mid-1990s and is often looked to for its insights into minority culture. For Carson, whose dissertation tracks have been listened to hundreds of thousands of times, African-American writers, poets and artists provide the jumping-off point for many of his rhymes, which he fills with a deep discussion of civil rights issues facing minorities today.

“A.D. Carson is an important young voice in the national civil rights discussion right now,” said Dr. Jes Simmons, assistant director of citizen leadership and social justice education. “He’s a master of using language to encourage exploration of controversial subjects while challenging citizens to broaden their perspectives and consider differing viewpoints—essential elements of the citizen leadership we teach at Longwood.”

Carson will deliver the keynote address Thursday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. in Blackwell Ballroom. There is no admission fee, and the community is invited.

This year’s theme, “Shaping The Noise: Continuing The Activist Movement,” is inspired by a letter by N.H. “Cookie” Scott, Longwood’s first African-American graduate, written for the Oct. 12, 2017 open house for the N.H. Scott Multicultural Center at its new location in Lankford Hall.

We don’t just ask students to volunteer their time and energy for the good of the community, but also to reflect on their time spent serving others to become better citizen leaders.

Jonathan Page, director of citizen leadership and social justice education

MLK Week at Longwood begins this year with the traditional service challenge on the first Saturday students are back on campus. Annually, dozens of students meet on campus to form groups and spend the day working at local agencies like Habitat for Humanity, FACES (the Farmville-area food bank), and other charities and organizations dedicated to community improvement.

“The Service Challenge not only sets the tone for the rest of MLK Week at Longwood, but for the rest of the semester,” said Jonathan Page, director of citizen leadership and social justice education. “We don’t just ask students to volunteer their time and energy for the good of the community, but also to reflect on their time spent serving others to become better citizen leaders.”

MLK Week Activities

  • Jan. 20: MLK Service Challenge. Students, faculty, staff and community members band together to spend a day volunteering in the community. Registration is required.
  • Jan. 21: University Sunday—Ecumenical service, 9 a.m., Martinelli Board Room, Maugans Alumni Center. Brunch, 11:30 a.m., Dorrill Dining Hall. Game night, 5 p.m., N.H. Scott Multicultural Center, Student Union
  • Jan. 22: Break Glass—A Conversation to End Hate. Students will lead an after-hours gallery walk at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts to discuss artist V.L. Cox’s powerful exhibition. 6 p.m., LCVA.
  • Jan. 23: Legacy of Mass Resistance—a Community Roundtable Dialogue with community and university leaders. 7 p.m., Moton Museum.
  • Jan. 24: Student-led Panel Discussion on Activism. 6:30 p.m., Bedford 111.
  • Jan. 25: Dr. A.D. Carson keynote address. 7 p.m., Blackwell Ballroom. Reception to follow.
  • Jan. 26: Slam poet Alex Tha Great with student open mic following. 7 p.m., Lankford Student Union café stage.
  • Jan. 27: MLK Cultural Immersion bus trip. Students and faculty will travel to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, the Valentine Museum in Richmond and the Maggie Walker house, followed by a group contextualized-discussion stroll along Monument Avenue. (registration required)

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