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MLK Jr.'s Legacy of Love Relived at BC

Jan. 16- Celebrating the 77th birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., the Berea College community showed their respect and admiration for the renowned civil rights leader and his vision of peace and equality.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., BC featured various events and speakers.

The commemorative Martin Luther King Jr. Day march started at the steps of Union Church and made its way to the Berea City Hall Courtroom. The people gathered to laugh, hold banners, and sing traditional spirituals. Once the procession reached the courtroom, they were greeted by Mayor Steve Connelly and BC President Larry Shinn. Both men spoke about the great works and beliefs of King, then turned the microphone over to Sonya Reed, a Berea College student who read two poems she had written using the civil rights movement as inspiration. She was followed by another student, Christian Motley, who read an excerpt from King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Convocation featured African American writer and activist Dr. Molefi Kete Asante. Asante spoke about King's legacy and his own personal philosophy, "it is not enough to know, one must act to humanize the world." He discussed current social injustices and incited a call to action. "'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,'" said Asante, quoting King. "What is your mission?" Asante asked the audience. "Where is the voice of the good people? [] It is for the good people to raise their voices and not be silent in these times."

Asante currently teaches in the department of African American Studies at Temple University, and is well known for his extensive work in African culture and philosophy. He is considered to be one of the most important thinkers of the world today, and has written over 60 books and 300 articles. He is also the founder of the theory of Afrocentricity.

Among other events taking place on King's birthday was a chapel service at Union Church featuring speaker Dr. Gerald Smith. Smith's presentation was followed by a "Living the Legacy" luncheon. There was a showing of Spike Lee's Bamboozled at Baird Lounge, followed by a discussion of the film.

As the evening drew closer, John Courter played some of King's favorite spirituals in a half-hour carillon concert. Songs included: "We Shall Overcome," "Oh, Freedom!", and "Just a Closer Walk With Thee." The bells tolled out across Berea's campus, bringing the music to passersby and further honoring King's memory.

Hutchins Library has a multimedia display about Martin Luther King Jr. which will be open through the end of the week; people are invited to learn about the important events in King's life, as well as write down their own "I Have a Dream" and post their dreams on the wall.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day events were sponsored by the African & African American Studies Program, Black Student Union, Black Cultural Center, Campus Christian Center, Student Life Team, CELTS, Library Services, Residential Life Collegium, and the College Organist & Carillonneur. More information about Martin Luther King Jr. and the convocation speaker Molefi Kete Asante can be found at the links below.

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