Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance

MLK Observance, circa 1990-1999
MLK Observance, circa 1990-1999

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance is an annual celebration at Old Dominion University (ODU) to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during Black History Month in February.


In 1985, Old Dominion celebrated its first Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance by holding a march on Kaufman Mall, music by Ebony Impact Gospel Choir, and an address by former California congresswoman Yvonne Burke. Since then, the event hosts an annual breakfast honoring local organizations and individuals that champion civil rights, as well as sponsoring keynote speakers such as historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard professor Cornell West, and Hidden Figures author Margot Lee Shetterly.


  1. Old Dominion University Photographic and Multimedia Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Perry Library, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, 23529.
  2. ODU Photographic Collection, Old Dominion University Libraries Digital Collections, Old Dominion University Libraries.
  3. Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion at ODU Timeline, Old Dominion University Libraries Digital Exhibit, 2016-present.


  1. Bookman, Steven and Jessica Ritchie. Old Dominion University: A Campus History Series.  Arcadia Publishing. Charleston, South Carolina, 2017.