Expressions of King’s Legacy

For 39 years, Expressions of King’s Legacy programming has been dedicated to celebrating the life and impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event is free and open to the public.

January 28, 2021

Bakari Sellers Headshot

Keynote: Bakari Sellers, CNN Political commentator

Bakari Sellers made history in 2006 when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. He earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, where he served as student body president, and his law degree from the University of South Carolina. Sellers has received numerous accolades including being named to TIME Magazine’s 40 Under 40 in 2010 as well as 2014 and 2015 “The Root 100” list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans and has provided commentary and analysis to CNN and MSNBC including multiple appearances on Hardball with Chris Matthews and Morning Joe. He now currently serves on AIPAC’s National Council. He is also the author of “My Vanishing Country: A Memoir”.

Register here

Past Speakers

Fredricka Whitfield Headshot

2017
Keynote: Fredricka Whitfield
Performances: Fisk Jubilee Singers

Tavis Smiley Headshot

2014
Keynote: Tavis Smiley
Performances: Curtis Babers

Julianne Malveaux Headshot

2013
Keynote: Julianne Malveaux
Performances: THREE MO’ TENORS, The Meeting – a play by Jeff Stetson

Nikki Giovanni Headshot

2011
Keynote: Nikki Giovanni
Performances: Aeolian, David Johnson

History

The Black Awareness Coordinating Committee (BACC) was formed during the Spring 1969 quarter at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The purpose of the group was “to foster and sustain an awareness of Black people being an integral part of our nation’s society.”  

In 1977, the organization touted itself as being the only organization “run exclusively for and by minority students.” At the time, the group’s membership consists mostly of Black and Puerto Rican undergraduates, though several graduate students belonged to the organization as well. Some of the programs sponsored by BACC included a Black student orientation, Black Awareness Week, and Educational Day, which introduced inner-city high school students to the world of higher education.

In 1991, the Commission for Promoting Pluralism partnered with BACC to deliver the annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. That April, the Commission held what was then called the Conference on Racism. Twenty years later, in 2002, the Commission renamed the conference to the Expressions of Diversity Conference. Then in 2010, the Annual Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King was combined into a week-long celebration—Expressions of King’s Legacy. In 2012, the program was moved under the Office for Diversity & Inclusion, continuing with the name of Expressions of King’s Legacy. Many campus members played an important role in the start of this celebration and the continuing of it as the longest standing diversity program at RIT.