Expressions of King’s Legacy

For 42 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 30, 2024

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Keynote: Dr. Ibram X. Kendi 

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News racial justice contributor. His relentless and passionate research puts into question the notion of a post-racial society and opens readers’ and audiences’ eyes to the reality of racism in America today. He also produced five straight #1 New York Times bestsellers, including How to Be an Antiracist, Antiracist Baby, and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, co-authored by Jason Reynolds. For more information on Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, please visit

Past Speakers


Keynote: Nikole Hannah-Jones


Keynote: Henry Louis Gates

Headshot of Bakari

Keynote: Bakari Sellers

Fredricka Whitfield Headshot

Keynote: Fredricka Whitfield
Performances: Fisk Jubilee Singers

Tavis Smiley Headshot

Keynote: Tavis Smiley
Performances: Curtis Babers

Julianne Malveaux Headshot

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

Nikki Giovanni Headshot

Keynote: Nikki Giovanni
Performances: Aeolian, David Johnson


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 1982, 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.