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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s only grandchild to headline MLK month events


The Division of Inclusion and Equity’s Harvey and Lucinda Gantt Multicultural Center has announced the events scheduled to celebrate the 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration month in January. This year’s keynote speaker will be 14-year-old Yolanda Renee King, student activist and MLK’s only grandchild.

King is the daughter of Martin Luther King III and Arndrea Waters King. She was named in honor of her aunt, Yolanda Denise King, who died a little more than a year before she was born.

Yolanda Renee King

As a young activist, Yolanda has been outspoken in support of the ongoing work to fulfill the great dream her grandfather shared with America. In June 2022, following the tragic mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Yolanda published a column in The Washington Post calling on her generation to stand up against gun violence. She has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NBC News, ABC News, and other national media outlets to help carry on the mission her grandfather gave his life for so many years ago.

In 2023, Yolanda, along with her parents, will embark on a year-long effort to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I have a dream speech,” advocating for policy changes that help Black and Brown Americans realize the dream that her grandfather spoke out.

“This year’s MLK events are very special as it is not only the week leading up to the 60th anniversary of desegregation at Clemson, but we will also be welcoming MLK’s only grandchild, Yolanda King,  as our keynote speaker six decades after he delivered the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial,” said Rebecca Harkless, director of the Harvey and Lucinda Gantt Multicultural Center. “Our theme this year, ‘Continuing to Dream,’ is a call to action for everyone to define their own dreams of equity and inclusion and take action towards it. The Clemson community is invited to honor MLK’s life and legacy through the day of service, commemorative service, and oratorical contest.”

Scheduled MLK month events are:

  • Jan. 16: MLK Day of service, 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Hendrix Ballrooms.
  • Jan. 17: The 41st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Keynote Program at 6 p.m. at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts. The program will include presentations of the MLK Awards for Excellence and keynote speech by Yolanda Renee King.
  • Jan. 19: Oratorical Competition sponsored by the Pi Alpha chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., at 6 p.m. in Hardin 100

    Events are free and open to students, faculty and staff.

    For more information, visit the 2023 MLK Commemorative Celebration web page.