Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Activism and Service 2017

January 20-21, 2017: Day of Activism and Service

On January 20 -21, 2017, the Center for Community Engagement will host a “Day of Activism and Service” as part of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Workshops will provide an opportunity for students to build skills and knowledge in issues related to activism. Drop-in activities will help extend skills and knowledge to action – students can begin exploring opportunities to engage in our community, ways to be advocates, allies, and activists, and reflect on how Martin Luther King Jr. serves as a model activist.

Threaded through the whole event will be the legacy of Martin Luther King, giving students the chance to read more his work and learn more about him.

Looking for a ride or have room to spare in your car to the Women’s March on Montpelier? Sign up for the Chellis House carpool here!




Click HERE  for the full MLK Day of Activism and Service schedule! Workshops don’t require an RSVP to attend, but if you can let us know whether you’re coming to the Black Lives Matter workshop (Friday, Jan. 20, 4-5:30 PM) with Ebony Nyoni of Black Lives Matter VT, it would be helpful to have a sense of numbers! Sign up for her workshop here!



On your own: explore Vermont’s African American culture and history!

Clemmons Family Farm is one of the largest African-American-owned historic family farms in Vermont (of the nearly 7000 farms in Vermont, only 19 are African American-owned or operated as of 2012. Of the 1.2 million acres of farmland in Vermont, only 740 acres are owned or principally operated by African Americans.). The farm, located in Charlotte, honors the lives of Jackson and Lydia Clemmons and serves as an African-American Heritage and Multicultural Center. Check out stories and videos of the farm’s founders and their families on their website! Beginning in 2017, indoor and outdoor multi-cultural events at the Clemmons Family Farm will feature African American diaspora and multicultural performance arts, visual arts, lectures, presentations and retreats– by and for artists, photographers, writers and musicians.

Visit the Rokeby Museum between mid-May and late October
The Rokeby Museum is a National Historic Landmark in Ferrisburgh, Vermont known for its Underground Railroad history. Its exhibit “Free and Safe: The Underground Railroad in Vermont,” shares the stories of Simon and Jesse, two historically documented fugitives from slavery who were sheltered at Rokeby in the 1830’s. The exhibit chronicles their journeys from slavery to freedom and introduces the abolitionist Robinson family who called Rokeby home for nearly 200 years. The Rokeby Museum is recognized as one of the most well-documented Underground Railroad Sites in the country. Once a thriving Merino sheep farm, Rokeby boasts eight historic farm buildings filled with agricultural artifacts, along with a variety of hiking trails.

The Rokeby Museum relies on volunteers to continue its role in the community. If you’re interested in volunteering, e-mail New guides are trained every year in March and April.

Visit the Vermont Folklife Center right here in Middlebury!
The Vermont Folklife Center recorded over 60 hours of interviews with Daisy Turner, who was born in June 1883 to ex-slaves Alexander and Sally Turner in Grafton, Vermont and lived to be 104. Qualified researchers can access the full collection of Turner Family materials in the Folklife Center Archive upon request. You can also check out this audio documentary series on Daisy Turner produced by the Folklife Center: “Journey’s End: The Memories and Traditions of Daisy Turner and Her Family.” Visit the Vermont Folklife Center’s website to access videos on Daisy Turner as well as information about the book that Jane Beck, Vermont Folklife Center founder and Middlebury alumna, wrote about Daisy Turner. You can also find more about the Turner Family in an exhibit at the Grafton Historical Society in Grafton, Vermont.

Visit the Brandon Museum!
Learn about the impact of the Civil War on Brandon and about the town’s anti-slavery movement, including a digital presentation of “Brandon and the Slavery Issue.” The Brandon Museum (located at 4 Grove St. in Brandon) is open from mid-May through mid-October and is free!
Learn more about Martin Henry Freeman and Mary Annette Anderson
Martin Henry Freeman and Mary Annette Anderson were two of Middlebury’s earliest alumni of color – you may recognize their names from our Anderson-Freeman Resource Center, which “provides resources and programming that encourage the holistic development of Middlebury’s increasingly diverse undergraduate students as they attain their goals of academic achievement and personal growth while exploring and sustaining their identities and cultures,” including advocacy and support for historically underrepresented and/or marginalized students including students of color, as first-generation college students, LGBTQ students, and international students. Learn more about these two Middlebury alumni here. You can find out more about Martin Henry Freeman and colonization by viewing a “web museum” students created as part of their j-term class. Check out Professor Bill Hart’s two-part series on these two alumni here and here.
Visit Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, VT
The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park offers the first-ever National Park Service walking tour interpreting the Civil War Home Front. This walking tour through the historic streets of Woodstock explores the experiences of civilians swept up in the maelstrom of civil war. The tour is also the inspiration for a larger collaborative effort between the National Historical Park, educators, students, and civic organizations to better understand the indelible mark left by the Civil War on this small community and on the nation.
Learn more about Alexander Twilight
Alexander Twilight, the first African American to earn a degree from an American college or university, graduated from Middlebury in 1823 (Twilight Hall is named after him). Find out more about Twilight through Orleans County Historical Society’s Old Stone House Museum – you can read more about his life and read some of Twilight’s sermons on the museum website.


Check out this guide to learn more about the sites and landmarks mentioned here, and many more, that together form the Vermont African-American Heritage Trail!

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