MLK’s influence honored, observed through performance

Ryan Collins

Martin Luther King Jr.’s story and influence were celebrated Thursday evening at Oscar Ritchie Hall in a free event presented by the Center of Pan-African Culture.

The program, called “In Search of the Real King: Testimony, Poetry and Music,” featured an address from Pan-African Studies professor George R. Garrison, poetry from Mwatabu Okantah, Pan-African Studies professor, as well as other poets and music by the Hue People.

Garrison spoke about King’s influence and the later years of King’s life.

“What most Americans don’t know about Dr. King, or have not thought about sufficiently, is the fact that he lived another five years after that famous speech given in 1963,” Garrison wrote in an e-mail. “Taking time out to commemorate the legacy of Dr. King is a way to remind us of our civic responsibilities and duties, the moral imperatives that should set the parameters of our lives, and to refocus us on the mission, vision and philosophy of education extant at this institution.”

Alfreda Brown, the university vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said she loved the event. She also spoke of King’s impact on her personally.

“I’ve been able to progress, and I’ve been able to look at life in a much more positive way than my parents were,” she said, adding she was glad to see so many students.

Lauren Glanton, junior pre-nursing major who attended the event, talked about King’s importance.

“Without him, I wouldn’t be able to probably attend college as I am now and have the freedom to become a nurse,” she said.

Okantah wrote in an e-mail that he believes education occurs both inside and outside the classroom.

“King is one name in a long roll call of heroes and ‘sheroes’ whose legacies must be nurtured and kept alive,” he wrote.

Contact Ryan Collins at [email protected].