Demanding Freedom As Justice
Dr. Peniel E. Joseph

Monday, January 27, 2020
6:30pm | Reception & Book Signing: Stokely: A Life
7:30pm | Event Kick-Off & Opening Performance
College Avenue Student Center | Multipurpose Room

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Dream Week recognizes Dr. King’s ultimate sacrifice for justice and equality and how we can continue to carry out his vision for a more just and equitable society.

This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Peniel E. Joseph, who holds a joint professorship appointment at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the History Department in the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also the founding director of the LBJ School’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.

Dr. Peniel Joseph’s career focus has been on “Black Power Studies,” which encompasses interdisciplinary fields such as Africana studies, law and society, women’s and ethnic studies, and political science. Prior to joining the UT faculty, Joseph was a professor at Tufts University, where he founded the school’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy to promote engaged research and scholarship focused on the ways issues of race and democracy affect people’s lives. He is a frequent commentator and contributor on CNN, PBS, Newsweek, NPR, CSPAN, and MSNBC on issues of race, democracy and civil rights. Joseph wrote the award-winning books Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America and Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama. Included among Joseph’s book credits is the editing of The Black Power Movement: Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era and Neighborhood Rebels: Black Power at the Local LevelHis most recent book, Stokely: A Life, has been called the definitive biography of Stokely Carmichael, the man who popularized the phrase “black power.” Dr. Joseph will be signing his latest book, Stokely: A Life, at the event. 

MLK Oratorical Competition & Verbal Mayhem

Wednesday, January 29, 2020
7:00pm – 9:00pm  | MLK Oratorical Competition
9:30pm – Midnight | Verbal Mayhem
Livingston Student Center | Multipurpose Room

The oratorical competition has 10 student speakers who will recite an original speech based on Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s quote, “Freedom is never given voluntarily by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”  Given the current national climate on racial injustice and other forms of oppression in this country, students are to answer what can they do to use their voice on issues that matter. Moreover, they are to consider a more socially conscious world and share their social justice vision for the future.

The Verbal Mayhem Poetry Collective is a student organization at Rutgers University – New Brunswick, that focuses on the expression of literary and performing arts—particularly that of poetry. 

For 10 years, Verbal Mayhem has continually recognized the necessity for writers of all styles to come together, and has provided a venue for individuals to do so. Our core program is a weekly open mic that functions every Weds night, during the Rutgers’ Fall and Spring semester. 

Admission is FREE and open to the general public—making Verbal Mayhem a place where Rutgers’ students can meet with one another, returning alum, and the local community. 

Verbal Mayhem is not a club by any means. There aren’t any dues to be paid and the open mic is both the E-Board and the General Body meeting. Though we are a poetry collective, singers and instrumentalists are welcome. 

There are optional weekly themes (for the writers) incorporated into each open mic session, at 9:00 P.M. 

So…tell a friend to tell a friend to tell a poet! 

We look forward to seeing YOU there.

Questions or want to get involved in #RUDreamWeek? Contact us at

In 2019, Rutgers University–New Brunswick marks the 50th anniversary of the Paul Robeson Cultural Center’s official opening. The celebration of this commemorative anniversary seeks to celebrate the center’s mission to honor the legacy of alumnus Paul Robeson and involve the Rutgers University–New Brunswick community in educational, cultural, and social programs and services that facilitates learning and engagement.

Learn more about the 50th anniversary!