2021 Dr. Martin Luther King Annual Observance: Resistance, Activism, and Getting Into Good Trouble

December 22, 2020
Submitted By: Kalee Marquis
Dr. Salaam

Join us on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. for the University’s annual “Keeping Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dream Alive” virtual observance featuring Dr. Yusef Salaam. 

Yusef Salaam was one of five boys—four black and one Latino— who were tried and convicted of the rape of a young woman in Central Park in 1989. They became known collectively as “The Central Park Five.” Salaam was 15 years old and spent more than six years in jail, first as a youth, then as an adult when he was transferred at age 21. The convictions of all five men were voided in 2002 by the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan after unidentified DNA not linked to any of them was linked to a convicted murderer and serial rapist who confessed.

Since his release, Salaam has committed himself to advocating and educating people on the issues of false confessions, police brutality and misconduct, press ethics and bias, race and law, and the disparities in America’s criminal justice system. In 2013, documentarians Ken and Sarah Burns released the documentary “The Central Park Five,” which told of this travesty from the perspective of Salaam and his cohorts.

Salaam was awarded an Honorary Doctorate that same year and received the President's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 from President Barack Obama. He was appointed to the board of the Innocence Project in 2018 and has released a Netflix Feature limited series called “When They See Us” based on the true story of the “Central Park Five” with Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey, and Robert De Niro, in May of 2019.

Register Now

The 2021 Annual University of Hartford MLK Observance Program is presented in collaboration with the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, the Office of Student Engagement and Inclusion, the Student Government Association, and the Alumni Board of Directors' Alumni of Color Task Force.

To RSVP, register for this program online. WebEx information will be sent to you automatically following your registration. 

Please email questions about the lecture to Brianna D’Arcangelo, Program Coordinator for the President’s Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, at