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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day: A Celebration

By Shawn Proctor

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day marks the birthday of the renown Civil Rights leader and non-violent activist. While Dr. King’s birthday was January 15, the federal holiday takes place the third Monday in January, and in Pennsylvania as well as on Villanova’s campus, MLK Jr. Day has become an opportunity for reflection and service. This year is the 15th anniversary and 32 sites will be served that day.

On January 25, the Center for Peace and Justice Education will honor Dr. King’s legacy with a Freedom School. “Inspired by the 1960’s movement which aimed to counter and boycott continuing segregation in public schools, Freedom School is a day-long workshop focusing on various topics surrounding MLK’s vision and work,” the organizers note.

Previous years’ Freedom School sessions are available for viewing, providing substantive talks, for example, about Villanova’s Rooted Project and “The Misremembering of American History.”

Pictured above, Villanova University welcomed Dr. King to speak on campus Jan. 20, 1965. For context, it was a year after he won the Nobel Peace Prize and just six months after the Civil Rights Act had passed. He spoke to about 4,000 people about “The Challenge of a New Age.”


Shawn Proctor Shawn Proctor is a Communication and Marketing Manager at Falvey Library.



Peek at the Week: January 15


In Anne of Avonlea, L. M. Montgomery wrote, “Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.”

Welcome back, Wildcats! It’s a new year and a new semester. That means it’s a new opportunity to learn from the mistakes you made last semester and start this semester with a fresh mindset. Maybe you slacked off on schoolwork, maybe you didn’t prioritize enough time for self-care, maybe you didn’t see your friends as much as you wanted to. Whatever you may have struggled with, now is the perfect chance to learn from those mistakes.


Tuesday, January 16

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Wednesday, January 17

Data Visualization Working Session | 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Digital Scholarship Lab | Free & Open to Villanova Students, Faculty, & Staff | Register Here

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Textbooks & Tacos | 5-6 p.m. | Speakers’ Corner | Free & Open to the Villanova Community | ACS-Approved | Refreshments Served

Thursday, January 18

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Sunday, January 21

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free


As you likely know, thanks to this day off, today, Jan. 15, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day (check out last year’s Weekend Recs on Dr. King if you want some MLK Day recs) as well as Civil Rights Day. Here are some other holidays coming up this week:

Today is also National Bagel Day, the perfect excuse to enjoy this Eastern European Jewish creation. Whether you need an on-the-go breakfast food or need some comfort food, bagels are such a versatile food. And if you really want a good bagel (and can’t travel to New York), go to a local bagel shop. If you’re out by Royersford or Pottstown, I’d highly recommend Barrister’s Bagels.

More into spicy food? Tomorrow, Jan. 16, is International Hot and Spicy Food Day. If you’re a fan of spice, you can celebrate this holiday by eating some of your favorite spicy foods, whether it’s hot wings, hot sauce, jalapeño poppers, Flaming Hot Cheetos, or any other go-tos. The options are practically endless.

Need to get some steps in? This Saturday, Jan. 20, is Take a Walk Outdoors Day. It might be freezing outside, but that doesn’t have to stop you. Even if it’s just 15 minutes around campus, going for a walk outdoors can help you get some fresh air and walk off any stress or negativity you might be feeling.

For all athleisure fans, International Sweatpants Day is this Sunday, Jan. 21. With the cold weather, sweatpants are the perfect option to stay warm and comfortable.

Annie Stockmal is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant in Falvey Library.

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Peek at the Week: January 16


In The Alchemist, Paul Coelho wrote, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Welcome back, Wildcats! I hope your Winter Break was just what you needed to start this semester off with optimism and  excitement. Perhaps it’s your second semester as a Wildcat, like me, or perhaps it’s your last. Either way, make it a semester to remember. While positive affirmations and manifestations might not completely change what’s out of our control, they might break down some of the mental blocks we didn’t know we created for ourselves.


Tuesday, January 17

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Wednesday, January 18

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Textbooks and Tacos | 5-6 p.m. | Room 205 | Free & Open to Villanova Community | Refreshments Served

Thursday, January 19

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Sunday, January 22

The Learners’ Studio/Center for Speaking and Presentation | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free


As many of you know, today, Jan. 16, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day commemorating the iconic Civil Rights activist and remembering the courage of those who fought for the civil rights of millions of Americans. (Check out our latest Weekend Recs for some awesome MLK Day recs if you haven’t already). Here are some other holidays coming up this week:

This Thursday, Jan. 19, is National Popcorn Day, a day for enjoying this buttery, salty treat. Celebrate by popping some popcorn (without burning it, or your room/housemates will suffer with the smell) or by swinging by the store. If you’re looking for something to do off-campus, this could be the perfect excuse to see a movie.

Friday, Jan. 20, is National Coffee Break Day. Feeling like Winter Break was a little too short? Take a break from studying, work, or whatever is preoccupying your brain and have a cup of your preferred coffee. (Although I’m a diehard iced coffee person, this weather has me considering switching to hot). And, if you’re doing work in Falvey, you can swing by Holy Grounds for some convenient caffeine.

For all the Sriracha and Tabasco lovers, National Hot Sauce Day is this Sunday, Jan. 22. If you’re in the mood for some spicy food, celebrate the holiday by accompanying a meal with your go-to hot sauce.

Sunday is also the first day of Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the Water Rabbit. For anyone celebrating, I wish you a good and happy new year!

Annie Stockmal is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Library. 


Weekend Recs: Revisiting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy Friday, Wildcats! Falvey Library is delivering you another semester of Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Annie, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is without a doubt the most remembered and revered Civil Rights activist in the United States. From his rise to prominence with his activism and work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to his horrific assassination, and with an entire day dedicated to his life, his modern acclaim is unsurprising.

Consequently, as Civil rights and racial justice have progressed (although the progress is sometimes very meager and disappointing), the radical nature of Dr. King has largely been replaced with a liberalized image, a man seeking moderate change. Yet, in the 1950s and 60s, Dr. King was anything but a liberal or moderate figure, he was directly challenging the U.S. government, a government that very much needed to be challenged. Many of the choices he made were not just moral, but strategic and trailblazing. In honor of MLK Day this upcoming Monday, this weekend’s recs will hopefully shine a slightly different light on Martin Luther King Jr. and his philosophy, politics, and activism.

If you have 12 minutes…and want to focus less on the past and more on the future, read this article in Counter Punch. Meyer, Jeffers, and Ragland place an emphasis on learning from organizers and activists of the past to combat racial hate and violence today, and they push back against the modern oppositional dichotomization of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

If you have 13 minutes…and need to brush up on your Civil Rights history, watch this Crash Course video on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the SCLC.

If you have 17 minutes…and want to read one of his most famous works, read “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” available at Falvey. This open letter was written by Dr. King after he was arrested during the nonviolent Birmingham protest campaign in 1963 and offers his guiding beliefs, arguments, and principles.

If you have 20 minutes…and only plan to read one thing from this list, read “MLK Now” by Brandon Terry, available online through Falvey. This piece is truly a standout work that revisits and offers a reconsideration of Dr. King and his work in today’s age and what we can and should learn from him.

If you have 26 minutes…and want to hear from Dr. King himself, watch this NBC interview with Dr. King. This interview really sheds light on Dr. King’s perspective on his Civil Rights work and where he saw the movement heading 11 months before his assassination.

If you have 30 minutes…and are interested in learning about King’s dedication to strategic nonviolence, read Karuna Mantena’s essay, “Showdown for Nonviolence: The Theory and Practice of Nonviolent Politics” by Karuna Mantena, available (in the 4th chapter of To Shape a New World) at Falvey.

If you have 2 hours and 8 minutes…and still haven’t seen it, watch Ava DuVernay’s Selma, available in Falvey’s DVD Collection. Although the film’s sole focus is not on Dr. King, it shows his efforts to get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed and puts his courage and the violence with which he and other Civil Rights activists were met into perspective.

If you have 11 hours…and want to read essays exploring Dr. King and his work from a variety of different perspectives, read Shelby and Terry’s To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr, available in Falvey. This book has some great essays that look at King through diverse and interesting lenses.

Annie Stockmal is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Library.


A History of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

By Ethan Shea

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on Jan. 15, 1929, yet we will celebrate the life of Dr. King on the seventeenth of the month this year. MLK Day does not fall on January 15 every year due to a law known as the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act” of 1968. This law moved several federal holidays to Mondays permanently in order to create more long weekends for federal workers, a move also meant to boost the travel industry. However, as you probably recognize, not all federal holidays fall on Mondays. Veteran’s Day, for example, was moved back to its traditional date of Nov. 11 by Congress in 1975.

Although Martin Luther King Jr. day was not yet a federal holiday when the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act” was first implemented, the law set the precedent that brought the holiday to be celebrated on the third Monday of January rather than January 15. According to current laws, the earliest the holiday will be celebrated is January 15, and the latest it can occur is January 21.

Compared to many holidays, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a relatively new one, as it did not become a federal holiday until 1983, but it is worth noting that ten years earlier, in 1973, Illinois became the first member of the union to declare MLK Day a state holiday. An increasing number of people wanted the United States to officially celebrate MLK Day at the national level, and eventually the holiday garnered enough support to be signed into law.

Leaving the logistics of the holiday aside for a moment, as fascinating as they are, no matter which date the third Monday of January happens to fall upon, it is important to recognize the immense social and cultural impact Dr. King had on not only the United States, but the entire world. King’s leadership throughout the Montgomery bus boycott, Birmingham civil rights campaign and 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, among countless other accomplishments, were critical to the strides toward equality King engendered during his lifetime. Acknowledging Dr. King’s achievements and working to continue his undying push for social justice are critical when recognizing this immeasurably important holiday.

If you are interested in learning more about Martin Luther King Jr. Day or the life of Dr. King himself, here are a few resources available at Falvey Memorial Library worth reading:

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


Peek at the Week: January 18

By Jenna Renaud


Word of the Week: Agelast 

(noun) a person who never laughs  

Okay, so maybe 2022 hasn’t started off exactly like we thought it would but try to keep a sense of humor as we move into in the new year to keep yourself from becoming an agelast. To help keep the humor alive this year, I’ve compiled some of the worst jokes about January that I could find. 

Q: Where do storm troopers go to warm up on cold January days? 

A: The Darth Mall. 

Q: What is the first month of the year in Transylvania? 

A: Janu-eerie. 

Q: What can you catch in the winter with your eyes closed? 

A: A cold. 

Q: What happened to the woman who stole a calendar on New Year’s Day? 

A: She got 12 months! 

This Week at Falvey  

Tuesday, January 18th 

Martin Luther King Jr. Keynote Address / 7–8:30 p.m. / Virtual  

Peace and Justice Education will host the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Keynote Address, delivered by Winona LaDuke, Harvard-educated economist, environmental activist, and author who specializes in rural development; economic, food, and energy sovereignty; and environmental justice.  

Thursday, January 20th 

The Freedom School will offer hour-long, online sessions hosted by various faculty members, staff, and students that relate to and extend the vision of Dr. King. The sessions will be hosted at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. 

This Week in History 

January 22nd, 1998 – Ted Kaczynski, the “Unabomber,” pleads guilty to bombings 

Theodore J. Kaczynski is currently serving a life sentence in a maximum-security prison in Colorado after pleading guilty to all federal charges regarding the “Unabomber” bombings. 

The “Unabomber” primarily targeted universities, although he also placed a bomb on an American Airlines flight and send one to the president of United Airlines. Federal investigators set up the UNABOM Task Force (a combination of university and airline) leading the media to give the man the name “Unabomber.” 

To read more about Ted Kaczynski, his history, and how he was caught, read this article from Editors. (2010, October 04). Ted Kaczynski Pleads Guilty. Retrieved from 

jenna newman headshotJenna Renaud is a Graduate Assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a Graduate Student in the Communication Department.

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Last Modified: January 17, 2022

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