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A Message from the Dean on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Statue of Dr. Martin Luther King in Rocky Mount, NC.

On Monday, January 18 we remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and commemorate his birthday. 

Dr. King’s words are as relevant today as they have ever been, and I encourage us all to take time to look at the legacy that Dr. King left us in his writings and public addresses for understanding of the causes he died for. While many will recall the most quoted speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, here in the Poole College of Management we can also learn about the work he undertook towards the end of his life that focused on economic inequality. 

On April 3, 1968, he told a mass meeting of sanitation strikers and their supporters “[i]t is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world, it’s nonviolence or nonexistence” he goes on later to say “either we go up together or we go down together.” These words appear to have as much meaning today as they did in 1968.

Listed below are some ways in which you can take time to reflect, honor and celebrate this life:

  • Watch and discuss a documentary or movie about the life of Dr. MLK Jr. Here is a helpful list with many options. 
  • Join National Day of Racial Healing Virtual Event
  • Attend a virtual campus MLK Day commemorative event such as Intergenerational Conversation: The Legacy of Radical Imagining and the Unsung Heroes as Situated by Martin Luther King Jr. Day. See the full calendar of events at the NC State African American Cultural Center here.
  • Spend some time researching the Black-owned businesses in your community. Here are some of recommendations in the Raleigh area: Black Friday Market, and Seven Springs Farm & Winery

The events of our country in the last several weeks remind us in order to have constructive change we need healthy dialog. We must continue to focus on how our curricula, research, community work, and engagement with Poole constituencies contribute towards realizing the social and economic dream Dr. King Jr valiantly championed. 

I hope you will take some time in the coming days to learn more and help keep the conversations moving in our Poole community, your homes, and the world around you.


Frank Buckless

Stephen P. Zelnak Jr. Dean

Poole College of Management