We are all MLK


Join Us in Celebrating and Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Minneapolis College is highlighting our MLK theme “Safeguarding Beloved Community” at events on three different dates. These events are open to students, employees and the community.

Racial Justice Oratorical Contest Winners

This event showcases scholarship winners of the racial justice oratorical contest. 

Service Event: Following the awards, students are invited to participate in a service project that will result in donations to nearby organizations supporting people in need.

  • Thursday, January 18, 2024, 11 a.m. – noon in T Plaza

About the Contest: 
Minneapolis College students and high school seniors from Metro Area High Schools were invited to submit a 500 to 1000-word speech or performance piece in response to the following questions and prompt -

  • What is “the drum major instinct,” and how does it distort personality?
  • Where do you see contemporary examples of its negative influence? Why should these examples be the source of alarm?
  • How does Dr. King’s “new definition of greatness” relate to our theme of Safeguarding Beloved Community?

MLK President's Breakfast

James White

Join us for breakfast, live music by the College's Jazz Ensemble, a welcome from Minneapolis College President Sharon Pierce, and Keynote Speaker James White, Executive Vice President of the Center for Social Impact at YMCA of the North.

White has served as a consultant for several nonprofit and for-profit companies using a narrative approach to understand culture and race. For over 20 years he has provided sessions and lectures for numerous organizations concerned with diversity and community in the marketplace.

White's address will focus on Dr. King's legacy and the movement for civil rights as exemplified through the DEI work of the YMCA of the North and on our MLK theme "Safeguarding Beloved Community."

  • Thursday, January 25, 2024, 7 – 9 a.m. in T.1400


Black History Month Celebration

It's a festive start to Black History Month with Minneapolis College. Join us for food, a keynote address, and live music. Don't miss the celebration! This event is free. 

Thursday, February 1, 2024, 6 – 8 p.m. in T.Plaza

  • 5:30–6:30 p.m. | Music by the International Reggae All Stars 
  • 6–6:30 p.m. | Community Soul Food Dinner 
  • 6:30–7:30 p.m. | Keynote Speaker Tish Jones

  • 7:30– 8 p.m. | Music by International Reggae All Stars and dessert service 
Tish Jones

Tish Jones will share a Keynote Address on "50 Years of Hip Hop: A History of Music and Culture." 

Tish Jones is a poet, emcee, and Hip Hop Theater artist. Her work explores themes of Black love, liberation, politics, and Afro-Futurism. She has exhibited her work throughout the United States and abroad as a public performance artist committed to the power of narrative change through the arts. Tish also serves as the Founding Executive Director of TruArtSpeaks.


ASL interpreting will be available for this event. If you need other disability related accommodations to make this event accessible, please contact the Accessibility Resource Center at 612-659-6730 or accessibility@minneapolis.edu

"And there is, deep down within all of us, an instinct. It’s a kind of drum major instinct—a desire to be out front, desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first. We all want to be important to surpass others, to achieve distinction… I want to move to saying that if this instinct is not harnessed, it becomes a very dangerous, pernicious instinct… The final great tragedy of the distorted personality is the fact that when one fails to harness this instinct, (s)he ends by trying to push others down in order to push (her)himself up. 

The drum major instinct can lead to exclusivism in one’s thinking and can lead one to feel that because (s)he has some training, (s)he’s a little better than that person that doesn’t have it, or because (s)he has some economic security, that (s)he’s a little better than the person who doesn’t have it. 

Do you know that a lot of the race problem grows out of the drum major instinct? A need that some people must feel superior… And we have perverted the drum major instinct. But let me rush on to my conclusion by giving a new definition of greatness. True greatness comes not by favoritism, but by fitness. If you want to be important—wonderful.

If you want to be recognized—wonderful. But recognize that (s)he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. It means that everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. And you can be that servant."

—Martin Luther King, Jr., The Drum Major Instinct (February 4, 1968)