Since the year 1986, across the United States, Americans have been celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King Junior, the man that is considered to be a spokesperson and leader of the Civil Rights Movement.
Each year across the nation, people and organizations, including Lewis and Clark Community College have been celebrating this National Holiday in many ways. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, celebrations have shifted this year, leading to many of them being virtual, including L&C’s, which was a forty-six minute video posted on L&C’s youtube page.
The video started off with a welcome from Dr. Mumba Mumba Ph.D, an associate professor of speech and liberal arts.
“This year our theme is going to be ‘stand up and do what is right’,” Dr. Mumba Mumba said in the video. “We selected this so that all of us can be beacons of change in our institutions and in our community so that we can work towards equity and inclusion for all.”
Dr. Mumba Mumba then went on to announce the line up, which included two performances and speeches which were written by Dr. King and read by L&C students. Also featured in the video is invited speaker Jonathan Palphus who spoke on activism, systematic accountability and a person’s duty to one another. As well as this, readings on influential Civil Rights leaders from throughout history were included.
To start off was a dance performance choreographed by Roni Anderson, which was titled “Four Women.” Dancing this emotional peace was Tyler Williams, Kalela Massey, Alexis Birts and Tenisha Cole from the East Athens Education Dance Center.
Next was a reading on Congressman John Lewis by student David Crull.
“[Congressman John Lewis] represented Georgia’s fifth congressional district for more than 30 years and was integral in the aggressive, self-sacrificial style of protest of the student nonviolent coordinating committee,” Crull said when reading about Lewis.
Next was a reading of the speech “Together we can redeem the soul of our nation”, which was written by Lewis. The speech was delivered by Abigail Zajac.
Preceding that was an introduction of the speech “I am not your Negro” by James Baldwin.
“An American essayist, novelist and playwright, his eloquence passion on the subject of race in America made him an important voice,” said Baldwin in his introduction.
A video then played from the documentary I am Not you Negro with the speech narrated by Sam L Jackson.
Then a public domain sermon that was once “delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church Montgomery, Alabama, 17, November 1957”, according to a description in the video, was played. This sermon, named “Loving Your Enemies”, originally delivered by Dr. King, was delivered by Mason Rothert-Radzom and Jennifer Wolfrom.
Following that was speaker Johnathan Pohpus, who was introduced by Jared T. Hennings. Pohpus shared what he has learned and examined from examples of Dr. King from history.
Following the speech were a reading of speeches done by Marenike Moyegun, who read a speech by Dr. King titled “Where do we go from here” as well as “The Other America”, also by Dr. King, and read by Grace Costello.
To finish up the celebration, Dr. Mumba Mumba gave a thank you for attending and introduced the final act, which was a song called “Hold On” performed by The Aelians from Oakwood University.