Regional Martin Luther King Jr. commemorations celebrate service and awareness

Moscow

Idaho native Thomas (Les) Purce, president of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, will be featured at Martin Luther King Jr. observances in Moscow.

Purce grew up in Pocatello, Idaho, and studied at Idaho State University and Washington State University. He was the first black elected official in Idaho as a city council member and then mayor of Pocatello. He later served as director of Idaho’s departments of administration and health and welfare. Starting in 1995 he worked in administration at WSU. In 2000 he became Evergreen’s first African-American president.

Purce will speak at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 16 at the University of Idaho Administration Building Auditorium on “Continuing the Dream,” about courage, speaking out against bias and hate, and following the examples of King and other civil rights leaders. The talk is free.

Purce will also give remarks at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Latah County Human Rights Task Force Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast. The breakfast is at Moscow Middle School. Tickets are $8 general admission and $4 for UI and WSU students and available at Paradise Ridge CDs in Moscow or by emailing jmuneta@uidaho.edu.

Lewiston-Clarkston Valley

People can volunteer their time from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley for the annual day of service organized by the Lewis Clark Service Corps. Volunteers will be sent to community organizations, including food and clothing banks, the library, the animal shelter, and Habitat for Humanity. Those interested in volunteering can contact Charlette Kremer at cpkremer@lcsc.edu or (208) 792-2084 for more information.

Lewis-Clark State College will have its Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, at the LCSC Student Union Building Amphitheater.

The event begins at 6 p.m. with choirs and hot chocolate. After a candlelight procession to the Williams Conference Center, the Seattle-based Living Voices Theater Company will present a live production of “The Right to Dream,” a drama about an African-American student growing up in Mississippi during the turbulent 1950s and ’60s. Admission is free.

Pullman

Civil rights leader Diane Nash will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at Washington State University’s Compton Union Building Senior Ballroom. Admission is free.

Nash (see interview) was the chairwoman of the student sit-in movement in Nashville, Tenn.; helped coordinate the Freedom Rides from Birmingham, Ala., to Jackson, Miss; and worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. She was arrested several times. In 1962 she was sentenced to two years in prison for teaching nonviolence to children in Jackson. Pregnant with her first child she served 30 days before being released on an appeal. From the late 1960s onward, Nash taught in Chicago public schools and continued her activism, in the spirit of Mohandas Gandhi, organizing tenants, welfare support, and housing advocates.

Other events: -- At noon Jan. 23 is a panel discussion on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the value of activism today at the WSU Center for Civic Engagement, Butch’s Den. -- At 7 p.m. Jan. 29 Michael E. Dyson, professor and author of 16 books, including “April 4, 1968,” will present the Martin Luther King Jr. lecture, “Dr. King in the 21st Century,” in the CUB Senior Ballroom.

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