Jeanne Theoharis to keynote 20th annual King observance and Sunrise Celebration

For Immediate Release
Tue, 01/08/2019


Briana Jarnagin

Member Services Assistant

Office for Diversity, Literacy & Outreach Services

American Library Association

(800) 545-2433 ext. 5020

CHICAGO – Professor and author Jeanne Theoharis will deliver the keynote address at the 20th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance and Sunrise Celebration during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits in Seattle. The 2019 Celebration will be held from 6:30-7:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 28 in the Sheraton Grand Seattle Metropolitan Ballroom.

Dr. Theoharis is distinguished professor of political science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. She received her AB in Afro-American studies from Harvard College and her PhD in American culture from the University of Michigan. She is the author or coauthor of seven books and numerous articles on the civil rights and Black Power movements, the politics of race and education, social welfare, and civil rights in post-9/11 America. Her widely acclaimed biography The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks won a 2014 NAACP Image Award and the Letitia Woods Brown Award from the Association of Black Women Historians, and appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Her most recent book, A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History (Beacon Press, 2017) won the 2018 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize for Nonfiction. A More Beautiful and Terrible History challenges nine key aspects of the civil rights movement fable to reveal the diversity of people, especially women and young people, who led the movement, and the immense barriers and repression activists faced.

Joining Dr. Theoharis is Call-to-Action speaker Loriene Roy. Dr. Roy is Anishinabe, enrolled on the White Earth Reservation, a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. She is a Professor in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) where she teaches graduate courses in reference and library instruction. She serves on the Boards for the Library of Congress Literacy Awards, Libraries Without Borders, Tribal College Librarians Institute, National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, and Hui ‘Ekolu (University of Hawaii-Manoa). She was the 1997-1998 President of the American Indian Library Association (AILA) and the 2007-2008 President of the American Library Association. Dr. Roy is the recipient of numerous awards in the LIS field, including the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from AILA; 2006 ALA Equality Award; and designation as a 2007 Library Journal Mover & Shaker. She is the Project Director for “Reaching Those Who Served: Recruiting and Preparing Military Veterans for Careers in Librarianship,” funded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Her current research includes “Reading Nation” and studying the impact of their careers on musicians’ health.

In honor of the Celebration’s 20-year history, this year’s program will also feature reflections from Virginia “Ginny” B. Moore and Satia Marshall Orange, two of the event’s co-founders. Moore served as the past co-chair of the National Library Involvement Committee of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission, a precursor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force of the ALA Social Responsibilities Table (SRRT) that she later chaired. Orange was a past director of the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, and was involved in institutionalizing the Celebration as an annual event and working with co-sponsoring member groups.

Musical performances of several traditional hymns will be provided by Seattle-area musician Jason Turner.

The annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance and Sunrise Celebration commemorates Dr. King's legacy and recognizes the connection between his life's work and the library world. Featured readings include selected passages from the works of Dr. King.

Attendance is open to all attendees of the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting. For more information, please visit

The 2019 Celebration is sponsored by ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services, OCLC, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force of the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table, and the Black Caucus of the ALA, Inc. Dr. Theoharis’ participation is generously provided by Beacon Press.