Hasan Davis to lead MC’s 2019 MLK Day observances

Hasan Davis to lead MC’s 2019 MLK Day observances

Dec. 17, 2018

Hasan Davis, a lawyer, juvenile criminal justice reform advocate, author and actor, will speak to the Maryville College community on Mon., Jan. 21, 2019 during the College’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observances.

Davis will speak at 11 a.m. in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre.

For more than 30 years, Davis has inspired and motivated youth across the nation, weaving his personal story of transformation from “Hasan Davis: Juvenile Delinquent” to “Hasan Davis: Juris Doctor” with humor and honesty. After an early arrest and expulsion from alternative school, he earned his GED and attended Berea College, where he was expelled twice. He returned a third time, determined to prove that failure would not be his legacy, and earned a bachelor of arts degree from Berea and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law.

In 2016, he wrote his first book, Written Off: How One Man’s Journey Through Poverty, Disability and Delinquency is Transforming the Juvenile Justice System. He is currently working on a children’s book about York, the black explorer of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and completing his first collection of poetry.

Davis has been recognized for his professional and personal efforts serving the needs of youth through his work across education, child welfare and juvenile justice systems. In 2008, he joined the executive leadership team of the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice as deputy commissioner of operation. In 2012, he became Kentucky’s fifth commissioner of juvenile justice. During his tenure as commissioner, he ensured that youth in the system had access to creative outlets from mural projects to Shakespeare behind bars. He was instrumental in moving juvenile justice reform in Kentucky. Senate Bill 200, which enacted sweeping juvenile reform, was signed into law in April 2014 and is now transforming Kentucky’s juvenile justice and other youth serving systems.

Davis has been a teaching artist (theater and writing) with the Kentucky Arts Council, a touring artist with Alternate R.O.O.T.S. and a Chautauqua presenter (touring actor/scholar) with the Kentucky Humanities Council, Missouri Humanities Council and Colorado Humanities. He is a founding board member of Kentuckians for the Arts, and he is a former chair and current executive committee member for Alternate R.O.O.T.S. He has researched, written and produced three Chautauqua Living History programs and has performed more than 500 shows in 37 states. He is also a high-demand speaker and consultant to youth agencies and school districts.

The MLK Day event, which is sponsored by Maryville College’s Multicultural Center and Black Student Alliance, is free and open to the public. Voices of Praise, Maryville College’s gospel choir, will perform during the event, and Maryville College students will give readings.

For more information about the event, please contact Larry Ervin, director of multicultural affairs at Maryville College, at 865.981.8222 or larry.ervin@maryvillecollege.edu.  

Blount County MLK Celebration events planned for Jan. 18-21

The theme for the Blount County MLK Celebration for 2019 is “Sharing Our Stories: From the Movement to the Moment.” The celebration, planned by the Blount MLK Celebration Committee, will include several community events and activities: 

Fri., Jan. 18 at noon – The Annual MLK Business Luncheon, the official kick-off to the MLK Celebration events, will be held at the Clayton Center for the Arts on the Maryville College campus (please note the change of venue for this year). The keynote speaker for the event is Cassius Cash, superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The cost is $35 per person or $350 per table of 10. Reservations are required by Jan. 11 and can be made by calling the Blount County Chamber of Commerce at 865.983.2241. 

Sat., Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. – The third annual MLK Kids and Families Fair, held at the Blount County Public Library, is sponsored by Blount County United, Blount County Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), St. Paul AME Zion Church, Blount County NAACP and Foothills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. The drop-in style, family-oriented event is for children of all ages and will offer a variety of fun activities and educational displays to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as other issues and topics related to race and identity, the historical and modern context of race/racism in the U.S., and how we can all work together to promote racial justice. Free and open to the community.

Sun., Jan. 20 at 4 p.m. – Community Worship Service at St. John Baptist Church, Alcoa (178 Bessie Harvey Ave.). The Rev. Richard Turney, pastor of Rest Haven Baptist Church in Alcoa, will be the speaker.

Mon., Jan. 21 –Blount County Martin Luther King Jr. March and Celebration

  • 12:45 p.m.– Parade marchers are asked to assemble at the MLK Center (209 East Franklin Street) in Alcoa.
  • 1 p.m. – The annual MLK Day March, honoring the peaceful protests that Martin Luther King, Jr. led across the South, will begin at the MLK Center and end at the Clayton Center for the Arts.
  • 2 p.m. – The MLK Celebration Program will begin in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre. The keynote speaker is Bob Booker, author and former executive director of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center in Knoxville. The MLK Celebration Choir will perform. The event is free and open to the community.

For more information and updates about the Blount County MLK Celebration events for 2019, please visit the Blount County MLK Celebration Facebook page.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.