Indiana University East is hosting its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Thursday, January 17. The event will feature speaker William H. Wiggins Jr., professor emeritus of African American and African Diaspora Studies and Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University.
“This year marks the 40th anniversary of Dr. King’s death, and as a former student of Doc Wiggins, I know that his presentation at IU East will be particularly meaningful for this occasion,” said Tim Williams, IU East director of Multicultural Affairs.
Wiggin’s speech, “What is Your Dream,” will begin at 11 a.m. in Vivian Auditorium, located in Whitewater Hall. IU East will also announce the recipient or recipients of this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Multicultural and Diversity Enhancement Award. Each year the award is given to either staff or students who have enhanced diversity and multiculturalism at IU East both inside and outside the classroom.
A free luncheon will follow Wiggins’ speech in the Whitewater Hall lobby. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Wiggins is a fellow of the American Folklore Society, a trustee of the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center, a former trustee of the Indiana Historical Society, a member and former chair of Indiana’s African American Landmarks Committee, a board member of the Historical Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, and an editorial board member of Southern Folklore and The Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies. He is the founding-former president of The Association of African and African American Folklorists. Wiggins serves as the regional liaison for the Ford Foundation’s Minority Fellowship Program and a Governor-appointed member of the Indiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
Wiggins also has several articles published and reviews books of Afro-American fiction for The World and I Magazine. He has appeared on CBS News Night Watch, BET’s “Other Voices,” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.” In addition to serving as either a consultant or a participant in numerous folklore documentary films, such as the award winning PBS Series, Keep Your Eyes On the Prize, and the History Channel’s productions, Jesse Owens and Sarge!, Wiggins has produced, with a major National Endowment for the Arts, Folk Art Film Grant, two folklore documentary films: In the Rapture, a 60-minute documentary of a religious drama (1978) and The Rapture Family, a 30-minute companion film that interviewed the cast regarding the origins and cultural meaning of the drama.
Currently Wiggins is writing a folk biography of Joe Louis, the former heavyweight boxing champion, for the University of Illinois Press.
For more information about the luncheon, call Tim Williams, IU East director of Multicultural Affairs, at (765) 973-8320.