Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=214123
Story Retrieval Date: 4/17/2015 12:21:47 PM CST
By Paige Sutherland/MEDILL
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Derek Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement
Robert J. Zimmer, President
READING of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Rachel Watson, Divinity School
Laboratory School Jazz Ensemble
INTRODUCTION OF SPEAKERS
Adam Green, Associate Professor of American History; Master, Social
Sciences Collegiate Division; Deputy Dean, Social Sciences;
Associate Dean in the College
Judy Richardson, film producer and civil rights activist
Charles Payne, Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor, School of
Social Service Administration; Affiliate of the Urban Education Institute
LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING
Soul Umoja, University of Chicago Gospel Choir and Red Clay Dance Company
Elizabeth Davenport, Dean of Rockefeller Chapel
Thomas Weisflog, University Organist
The University of Chicago encourages students to make a difference in their communities. In commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a documentarian will stand where King once stood to drive that message home.
“Some people take the past for granted and don’t digest the meaning. It’s important for all of us to know that everyone can make a difference,” said Eden Sabala, assistant to the dean for arts and events management, at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.
Civil Rights activist and documentarian Judy Richardson will engage in a conversation with Professor Charles Payne at 6 p.m. Thursday in remembrance of the Civil Rights Movement and its progress today.
Richardson is best known for her work in the 14-hour PBS documentary “Eyes on the Prize.” The documentary highlights the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. from the murder of 15-year-old Chicago resident Emmett Till in 1955 to the election of Chicago’s first black mayor, Harold Washington, in 1983.
Her most recent documentary is “Scarred Justice,” which focuses on a massacre of students in 1968 in Orangeburg, S.C.
An estimated 650 to 700 people are expected to attend the ceremony, Sabala said. Every year the audience is drawn from beyond the university, and Sabala said the chapel has become a hub for the South Side.
The chapel, she said, does not invite just anyone to speak. In 2002 Barack Obama was the keynote speaker.
“There is a presence about the speakers that resonates with the audience and inspires them to make a difference,” Sabala said.
Between 1956 and 1966, King spoke at the university’s campus three times, twice at the chapel.
“The place where we sit is a place where a person of extraordinary insight and leadership has stood,” said Dr. William McDade, deputy provost for research and minority issues at the university.
King was an iconic figure who galvanized the nation through several campaigns, chief of which resulted in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Others included the integration of Little Rock High School and the University of Mississippi. King, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, would have turned 84 on Tuesday. The holiday celebrating his birth is Monday.
The university demonstrates King’s message by having the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D., the first minority scholarship program at a business school and the first gay liberation organization in Chicago.
To truly honor King, McDade said, one must not remember his message but rather live it: “We must strive to keep his image and ideals alive because in the end that is what will make us a better society.”