This year, Hiram College is honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the holiday commemorating his life and work with a celebration beginning on Thursday, January 18 and will continue through Saturday, January 20. Events will be hosted and sponsored by the the Center for Social Impact, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Black Student Union, Department of History and the Department of Environmental Studies. Please see below for details on each event.   

Monday, January 15

Service Project at the Center for Hope | Ravenna, Ohio | 9:30 a.m.

The Center for Hope is a non-profit organization which provides daily hot and nutritious meals and a food pantry at no cost to community members. Service activities will include stocking the food pantry and other tasks associated with meal preparation. Students need to register by noon on Friday January 12, 2024 with the AmeriCorps Office, email: americorps@hiram.edu. Transportation will leave Hiram at 9:30 a.m. from outside the Kennedy Center, with service activities commencing at 10:00 a.m. 

Thursday, January 18

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Meeting the Demands of Justice within Our Time and Place | Dr. Katie Hays | Zoom | 6 p.m.

This is the question that so many face when they find themselves conflicted between the call of justice and the limitations of their political geography. Think of the abolitionists who participated in the Underground Railroad, the Freedom Riders who advocated for integration and civil rights in segregated states, and every collection of people who choose to abide by a higher standard of ethics and morality.

Hiram College will welcome the Rev. Dr. Katie Hays from Galileo Christian Church to present on their faithful resistance and engagement with the North Texas TRANSportation Network, an organization committed to providing financial support and transportation for transgender children in Texas to seek health care in other states. Rev. Dr. Hayes is an author and lead evangelist of the Galileo Christian Church in Fort Worth, Texas. There will be opportunities for conversation following the lecture and Q&A portions of the program.

Friday, January 19

Sailing to Freedom:  Recovering and Re-centering the Maritime Dimension of the Underground Railroad | Professor Timothy Walker (UMass-Dartmouth) | Dix Dining Hall, Kennedy Center | 7:30 p.m.

Sailing to Freedom highlights the little-known stories of freedom-seeking by sea and describes the less-understood maritime side of the Underground Railroad.  This talk will reconsider and contextualize the importance of enslaved African Americans’ maritime and waterfront labor in southern ports, and how escapes were managed along the East Coast, moving from the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland to safe harbor in northern cities such as Philadelphia, New York, New Bedford, and Boston.  While scholarship on the Underground Railroad has focused almost exclusively on overland escape routes from the antebellum South, this new research expands our understanding of how freedom was achieved by sea and what this journey looked like for untold numbers of African Americans. 

Saturday, January 20

Using Age-of-Sail Ships’ Logbooks to Inform Climate Science using Weather Data from the 18th and 19th Centuries? | Professor Timothy Walker (UMass-Dartmouth) | Dix Dining Hall, Kennedy Center | 11 a.m.

This presentation explains how historic changes in weather patterns and the Earth’s climate can be evaluated using weather data contained in whaling and naval voyage logbooks. Walker’s historical research, done in collaboration with climate scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, assesses historic weather patterns in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans using unexploited caches of preserved documentation: whaling logbooks (c. 1785-1870) and Portuguese Navy logbooks archived in New Bedford, Nantucket, Lisbon, and elsewhere.  Come learn how historians and climatologists working together can push the instrumental climate record back almost 300 years — and possibly further.

Dr. Timothy Walker ‘86, Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, is a scholar of maritime history, colonial overseas expansion, and trans-oceanic slave trading. Walker is a guest investigator of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a contributing faculty member of the Munson Institute of Maritime Studies, and Director of the National Endowment for the Humanities “Landmarks in American History” workshops series for middle and high school teachers, titled “Sailing to Freedom: New Bedford and the Underground Railroad” (2011–2022).