CLEMSON — Clemson University will mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day with several events, including a day of community service and the annual MLK Commemorative Service, which will feature keynote speaker David Hilliard.

Students, faculty and staff will use the holiday off Monday, Jan. 21, as a day to help others during the annual MLK Day of Service from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers spend the morning working with agencies throughout the community, including Clemson Child Development Center, the Animal Rescue Fund, Collins Children’s Home, Our Daily Bread and Sterling House.

As part of the Day of Service, the Blood Connection will hold a blood drive from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Hendrix Student Center meeting rooms.

The celebration continues with the 31st annual MLK Commemorative Service at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at Tillman Hall auditorium. The service will feature Hilliard, a founding member and former chief of staff of the Black Panther Party.

Hilliard is author of the book “This Side of Glory,” a personal narrative and eyewitness account of the Black Panthers. He also co-authored “Huey, Spirit of the Panther,” the first authorized biography about Black Panther founder and leader Huey P. Newton.

By the early 1970s, the Black Panthers were a nationwide and global organization providing free food, medicine and legal services to the inner city poor. The Panthers, once labeled, “the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States” by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, began to dissolve as police raids, gun battles, IRS investigations, trials and prison terms decimated their ranks.

Since 1993, Hilliard has directed the activities of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, a grassroots community-based nonprofit organization committed to preserving and fostering Newton's intellectual legacy. The foundation has collected Newton's writings, covering the “Huey P. Newton Reader” and his early work, “To Die for the People,” in addition to reissuing Newton's autobiography, “Revolutionary Suicide.”

Now an internationally recognized authority on Newton and the Black Panther Party, Hilliard taught at Merritt College, Laney College, New College and the University of New Mexico. He lectures frequently throughout the United States and was an adviser on the feature film “Panther” and on the Spike Lee-produced film “A Huey P. Newton Story.”

Other events included in this year’s MLK celebration are the screening of the film “Trending Race: Shaping and Embracing Black and Brown Identity” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, in the Almeda Jacks Ballroom of the Hendrix Student Center; and the Tunnel of Oppression, which will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, on the second floor of the Hendrix Student Center. The Tunnel of Oppression simulates different forms of oppression and discrimination as participants walk trough the tunnel. Counselors will be on hand to discuss the experience with participants afterward.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit


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