The celebration, sponsored by The Office of Social Equity, had in previous years been celebrated for a single day.
This year it was extended to a week, when the planning committee decided that Dr. King’s vision and work should be seen in many events, rather than just one.
“The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration served as a excellent way to communicate the impact and importance of Dr. King’s work on the lives of all Americans,” Maggie J. Viverette, Director of The Office of Social Equity said. “Dr. King’s work is the foundation of many of the positive dimensions of learning and working environments that VSU community members experience daily. Respect in the workplace, respect and acceptance in the classroom, acceptance and celebration of individual differences throughout the campus are all outgrowths of Dr. King’s work.”
The first event, a panel discussion about the book, “To See The Promise Land: The Faith Pilgrimage of Martin Luther King,” by acclaimed author Dr. Fredrick Downing, took place in the University Center Theater on Monday.
The event, hosted by VSU’s Philosophy and Religious Studies Department, also included panelists Dr. Paul Riggs, Dr. Micheal Stoltzfus, and Dr. Lavonna Lovern.
Viverette was very pleased with the turnout and the panelists’ perspectives on Dr. Kings’ activism.
“The panel discussion based on Dr. Fred Downing’s book “To See the Promised Land” was excellent! The contributions of Dr. Downing and the panelists provided an opportunity for the audience to experience Dr. King’s activism from a variety of disciplinary and cultural perspectives,” Viverette said.
Due to the hazardous weather and icy roads, award-winning author Pearl Cleage’s presentation was cancelled. Cleage’s first novel, “What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day,” was an Oprah Book Club pick. Cleage has been contacted by the planning committee to reschedule the event.
The Commemorative Celebration ended with Yarrow, one third of the classic folk group, Peter, Paul and Mary. Yarrow as an activist was also a member of the anti-Vietnam movement, and has had firsthand experiences with the civil rights movement, including participating in Dr. King’s march on Washington D.C., and his march on Selma, Ala.
Yarrow has also performed on over 60 albums with the defunct group Peter, Paul and Mary and with his daughter, Bethany Yarrow.
The concert took place in The Ballroom of the Student Union and attracted over 400 students. Yarrow played seven songs, including a song that he told the audience he had performed at Dr. King’s funeral.