Lamar University to celebrate legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On Thursday, Jan. 20, Lamar University will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a special commemoration from the LU NAACP student chapter and Pietzsch-MacArthur Elementary.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian and leader in the civil rights movement.  He is best remembered for his role in the advancement of civil rights through nonviolent civil disobedience and his “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C.  Each year, LU honors Dr. king for his contributions to the civil rights movement and his work toward racial equality and justice with events hosted by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The theme for this year’s MLK celebration is “It Starts with Me.” “This year’s theme chose us in a sense. It’s a reminder that we all have an obligation and opportunities to do our part,” said Wilma Jackson, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “Let freedom ring by making our communities a better place, giving and sharing with others. Much like Dr. King, it literally starts with one individual who has a dream.”The keynote speaker for this year’s event is Beaumont city Councilman Albert “AJ” Turner who has pursued and achieved success in business, diversity, leadership and community service. He is the current founder and CEO of AJ Turner Enterprises. In 2016, he received the 40 under 40 Award from the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce and was honored with the Award of Prestige for Outstanding Leadership in the Southeast Texas community by ExxonMobil in 2017. In 2019, he was named Southeast Texas Businessman for the month of August. Turner received the Martin Luther King Man of the Year Award in 2020 and, just last year, he was named the NAUW Martin Luther King Humanitarian recipient. In 2021, he also was named a Difference Maker of the Year and one of the Rising Stars to watch by the distinguished 100 Black Women Coalition.The MLK celebration is set to take place on the 8th floor of the Mary and John Gray Library from 4-6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public –– masks and hand sanitizer will be available for all guests. For a full list of events from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, visit