Hickory – In celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Multicultural Affairs Office is hosting noted pastor the Rev. David E. Roberts, II as guest speaker for its annual event remembering the civil rights icon. Free and open to the public, the event will take place on Monday, Jan. 20, at 10 a.m., in P.E. Monroe Auditorium. The Hickory NAACP is holding a march following the engagement with a police escort to Ridgeview Center.

An Asheville, North Carolina native, Roberts earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Western Carolina University and spent a year as an actor before enlisting in the U.S. Navy serving in the Nicaraguan conflict. He was commissioned as an officer in 2000, retiring as a chaplain with more than 20 years of service.

Roberts resides in Hickory where he has been the pastor of Morning Star First Baptist Church for the past 12 years.

A quartet from the Western Piedmont Symphony will perform at the celebration. The NAACP also received a grant to provide an art display for students from Lenoir-Rhyne (LR), Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) and area high schools to submit their work.

It’s only one of several compelling events on campus leading to the celebration of Black History Month in February. The following events are free and open to the public except as otherwise noted.

Western Piedmont Symphony – Saturday, Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m.

The Western Piedmont Symphony will perform “A New Americana” Saturday, Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in P.E. Monroe Auditorium with Roberts as the narrator. The event features guest artists: Hickory Choral Society and LR, CVCC and community choirs. Tickets are available at wpsymphony.org.

Black Angels Over Tuskegee – Tuesday, Feb. 4, 7 p.m.

The off-Broadway showing of “Black Angels Over Tuskegee” will be Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. in P.E. Monroe Auditorium. A story of the Tuskegee Airmen, this play is told in the narrative of six men embarking upon a journey to become pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps program, which sought to train and prepare African-Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. The play explores their collective struggle to conquer isolation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II forming the 99th Pursuit Squadron. Tickets are $15 for the 7 p.m. performance and can be found at thegreenroomtheatre.org. Earlier in the day, University President Dr. Fred Whitt will excuse students from classes to allow them the opportunity to see the production. Following these events, LR students, as part of the First-Year Experience course offered at the university, will be part of a diversity discussion.

Visiting Writers Series: Morgan Parker – Thursday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m.

Award-winning poet and author Morgan Parker is scheduled to speak on campus Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. in Belk Centrum for the Visiting Writers Series. A nationally recognized poet, novelist, and essayist, Parker has written three books of poetry, including this year’s “Magical Negro” and 2017’s “There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé.” Recently released and based on her teenage years, she also has a young-adult novel, “Who Put This Song On?” A debut book of nonfiction is forthcoming from One World. Parker is the recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, winner of a Pushcart Prize, and a Cave Canem graduate fellow.

For questions or additional information, contact Emma Sellers, director of multicultural affairs, at 828.328.7288 or [email protected].
Rev. David E. Roberts