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Great Minds, Even Greater Dreams

WPI's annual MLK Commemorative Address highlights and memorializes the work, accomplishments, and legacy of one of the greatest Civil Rights and African American leaders in modern history.The MLK Commemorative Address is organized by the Division of Talent and Inclusion. Each year an external speaker, through a keynote address, will engage the campus community and the greater Worcester community in actualizing Dr. King's ideals of social justice, protest, education, and service. In commemorating the late Dr. Rev. King, annually, we renew our commitment, as a community, to maintain his dream and its place on our campus. As we consider our current cultural climate, respect to one another, and peaceful discourse - all encompassed in our institutional values, this address reminds the campus of King’s legacy and how we are accountable to actualize it institutionally.

February 13, 2020

We invite you to join us to commemorate the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in our annual keynote address given by American author and academic, Dr. Mark Anthony Neal. Following the MLK Commemorative Address, guests are invited to participate in a community activity on strategies for creating positive change in the WPI community. 

The Soundtrack of Struggle


At the very time that activists and everyday folk were challenging the status quo of racial discrimination and segregation in the 1950s, a generation of Black musicians, songwriters and singers were similarly disrupting the sound of Pop music.  By the early 1960 Soul music, with its indebtedness to The Blues, Gospel and Jazz emerged as the Soundtrack of the Civil Rights Era. “The Soundtrack to Struggle” will examine the music of Motown, Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions, Aretha Franklin, and so many others who created a sound that not only changed the nation, but changed the world.

Dr. Mark Anthony Neal

Mark Anthony Neal is James B. Duke Professor of  African & African-American Studies and Professor of English, and Chair of the Department of African and African American Studies  at Duke University. Neal is the author of five books including What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Public CultureSoul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic and Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities, and co-editor, with Murray Forman, of That’s The Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader (now in its 2nd edition).  At Duke Neal offers courses in Black Cultural Studies, including signature courses on “Michael Jackson and the Black Performance Tradition” and “The History of Hip-Hop,” co-taught with Grammy Award Winning Producer 9th Wonder.  Neal also directs the Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship (CADCE) which produces original digital content, including the weekly video podcast Left of Black, (now in its 10th season), produced in collaboration with the John Hope Franklin Center for International and Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke. Follow Neal on Twitter at @NewBlackMan and Instagram at @BookerBBBrown; His Digital Home is NewBlackMan (in Exile) (

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