MLK’s Legacy of Creative Maladjustment and Youth-led Social Change
Join the Haverford College Center for Peace and Global Citizenship in recognizing youth leadership with its inaugural Award for Creative Maladjustment and Youth-led Social Change. This year’s recipients are Edha Gupta and Christina Ellis, key leaders in recent efforts to successfully challenge a book ban in the Central York School District in York County, Pennsylvania. On January 16, MLK Day, at 1:00 pm, they will be joined on campus in Lutnick Library 200 with other community organizers and leaders working to ensure access to books in a vibrant, diverse society. Please register here.
At the age of fifteen, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his first public speech in Dublin, GA, as part of an essay contest. He was seventeen when he published a letter to the editor in Atlanta's largest newspaper, stating that Black People "are entitled to the basic rights and opportunities of American citizens." He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott at twenty-six years old. Insight often emerges from among youth who aim to bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice.
As he advanced into his thirties, MLK still refused to settle for things as they are. Across numerous public engagements, he called for resistance to injustice, urging what he called, “creative maladjustment.” In 1963, as part of a speech at Western Michigan University, he said,
I never intend to become adjusted to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few, leave millions of God’s children smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism, to self-defeating effects of physical violence.
Join Haverford College in recognizing youth leadership for positive social change, embracing the ways in which we are all called toward creative maladjustment, making spaces for our lives and stories, creating community in spite of dominant cultural norms that resist it, and finding our own voices in ways that support others finding theirs. Because this year’s recognized youth leaders successfully fought back a book ban, our panel features authors, activists, and individuals who create space for one another, for community, and for justice and change through books and access to books. Honored guests include:
- Edha Gupta and Christina Ellis, key leaders in recent efforts to successfully challenge a book ban in Central York School District, Pennsylvania (also recognized as inaguaral recipients of the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship Award for Creative Maladjustment and Youth-led Social Change);
- Anyabwile Love, Professor of History and Black Studies at the Community College of Philadelphia, and owner of Bailey Street Books
- Joyce Mosley, Historian, Author
- Nahjee Grant, Educator, Entrepreneur, Author
Guests will be introduced by Haverford College Provost Linda Strong-Leek.
The event begins at 1:00 pm in Lutnick Library 200. It will conclude by 3:00 pm. Please register here.