Commemorating the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Alexandra Blockton
ablockton@lc.edu

 

This year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. event has proved to be sanguine. Welcoming remarks by Associate Professor of Speech Mumba Mumba had the entire audience’s attention, and everyone clapped with joy throughout the event. 

The audience also enjoyed the music. The Lewis and Clark Community College Gospel Choir, directed by Music Instructor Brenda Lancaster, performed “Down by the Riverside” to kick things off. They also performed “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around,” during the event. 

“The MLK event was impressive and educational for our students,” Mumba said. “Every activity came together because of the commitment of the students and visitors we invited. This event couldn’t have been successful without the input of Jared Hennings, Tandra Taylor, Brenda Lancaster and Mario Love. Their advice and guidance made the event a success.”

L&C students Marienke Moyegan and Ayinde Bennett read from King’s well-known 1957 speech “Give Us the Ballot.” He gave the speech about the voting rights of African Americans at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, which was a rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“Seeing my fellow students up there really showed me the love and compassion they had for the event. It really was an inspiration,” said L&C student David Crull.

L&C student Charlotte Jackson and Crull read from Ella Baker’s speech “Bigger than a Hamburger.” In the 1960 speech, Baker said student activists at that time were more than just causing controversy for the sake of the student luncheonette. 

“It was an honor to read the trailblazing of Ms. Ella Baker’s speech,” said Jackson. 

Keynote speaker Cindy N. Reed, who is a local professional speaker, writer, singer and poet, was able to present a meaningful message through multiple voices as she represented the characters in her speech.

 “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired physically,” Reed said quoting Rosa Parks. “No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving’ in.”

“I thought it was a thoughtful tribute to Dr. King,” said Anthony Brown, a student here at LC.

L&C student Deshon Womack read a speech by Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy – “I’ve got the St. Louis Blues.” The Atlanta pastor and civil rights leader gave the speech in 1963 at the Washington Tabernacle Baptist Church in St. Louis with the Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth and King.

“I have much gratitude to be a part of the MLK celebration,” Womack said. “Spreading the words and knowledge of my ancestors is always an honor. BLM!”

Tahje West and Martez Trezvant read from the speech “Eulogy for the Martyred Children,” which was given in memory of four of the young females (Cynthia Diane Wesley, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, and Carol Denise McNair), who were all victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. 

“I thought it was amazing,” said Administrative Athletics Assistant Dionne McElroy. “I came to the MLK event last year to support students. But this year, I came to support Martez Trezvant. Overall, I really enjoyed this year’s event and will return next year,”

“Change to Passage” was presented in performances by Paul H. Pitts Production, a new musical group from St. Louis, Missouri. There was also a memorial wall for everyone in attendance to view before and after the MLK event. It contained images and info about to the two African American sanitation workers who died in a garbage compactor, on Thursday, Feb. 1, 1968, in Memphis. Their deaths caused the sanitation workers to strike. 

“Rock and Roll Ensemble,” a song directed by Lancaster, was performed as a closing tribute, and Students Activities Coordinator Jared Hennings wrapped up the event with closing words.

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