Last Monday, Colgate celebrated the legacy and perpetual relevance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior. President Jeffrey Herbst commemorated the civil rights leader with a speech in the chapel.
Herbst highlighted the laudable progress “since [King’s] untimely death,” but noted that “much more work has to be done.”
Herbst’s speech kicked off a week-long effort to honor Dr. King’s great “vision.” Following the President’s speech, there were a number of performances to mark the occasion. First, the Colgate 13 a capella group sang “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn. A series of poetry and dance performances ensued. Two Colgate students read aloud self-authored poems and another two students put on an elaborate dance routine.
Sophomore Sarah Deasy attended the chapel event. She was appreciative of Colgate’s treatment of the federal holiday.
“I really enjoyed the performance this afternoon. I’m glad that the Colgate community is taking the time to acknowledge the work of Dr. King, not only today, but extending the celebration for the rest of the week as well. It seems like we tend to focus on the issues that Dr. King fought for only on the one day and then quickly let them slip from our minds. It’s really great that Colgate is working to make the impact last longer on campus,” Deasy said.
Later that day there was another event held in the ALANA Cultural Center. The event was lead by Professor of History and African American Studies Pete Banner-Haley and began with a lecture delving into “what was very unique about King.” Professor Banner-Haley answered by observing that Dr. King was “youthful,” “intelligent,” “thoughtful,” “stimulating,” “organizationally astute” and held a “deep moral conviction.” He also emphasized the importance of the “black church” in Dr. King’s life.
After the lecture, the floor was open for discussion about the modern relevance of Dr. King and the modern issues between races.
“I still come here as a freedom fighter,” Banner-Haley said.
Students voiced their own experiences in dealing with the issue of universal respect that Dr. King advocated so many years ago. The day was well honored on campus.