The Temple holds a Shabbat service annually which is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year on January 17, Frank X Walker – an award winning author, professor and the first African-American Poet Laureate of Kentucky – will be welcomed to the bimah at 7 p.m. as The Temple’s 2014 MLK Shabbat guest speaker.
Walker will pre-sent: “Racial Reconciliation: A Dialogue” as he speaks about the legacy of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, a contemporary of Dr. King, and discusses Evers as a bridge between Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin. All community members are invited to be a part of this experience.
Walker is the author of five poetry collections: Isaac Murphy: I dedicate this ride; When Winter Come: the Ascension of York; Black Box; Buffalo Dance: the Journey of York, which won the Lillian Smith Book Award in 2004; and Affrilachia.
A 2005 recipient of the Lannan Literary Fellowship in Poetry, Walker is cofounder of the Affrilachian Poets. He currently serves as an associate professor in the Department of English and director of the African American and Africana studies program at the University of Kentucky.
Internationally, Walker is known for his unique approach to teaching writing and numerous literary accomplishments. Most famously among them is his creation of the word “Affrilachia,” a term that unifies Appalachian identity and the region’s African-American culture and history.
A native of Danville, KY, Walker is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, and completed a Master of Fine Arts in writing at Spalding University.
He has lectured, conducted workshops, read poetry and exhibited at more than 300 national conferences and universities including the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry, Northern Ireland; Santiago, Cuba; University of California at Berkeley; Notre Dame; Appalachian State University and many more.
Walker has served as vice president of the Kentucky Center for the Arts and the executive director of Kentucky’s Governor’s School for the Arts. He is the recipient of the 2013 Appalachian Heritage Literary Award from the West Virginia Humanities Council. The Kentucky Conference for Community and Justice named him one of its Humanitarian Award winners. On April 24, 2013, he was inducted as the current Poet Laureate of Kentucky, a position established in 1926 by the Kentucky General Assembly.