Could He Still Be King?

Could He Still Be King?

By: Marina Clements

In remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Could He Still Be King? was organized by Dr. Susan Mead, the cultural diversity professor at Ferrum College, with the help of her cultural diversity students, who offered music suggestions. This event took place in the Panthers’ Den on January 15, 2014. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy of non-violence was the theme of this event. Dr. Mead expressed this theme through the use of poetry, songs about racial equality, and a recording of Dr. King’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

Dr. Mead says, “I wanted the students to take ownership of the morning program, the afternoon program, all the things we might do… because they have so much to teach us.”

Amy Baker, a first-year student from Dr. Mead’s cultural diversity class, was to read “Li’l King” by Frank X. Walker; an African American poet. Unfortunately, Baker was not able to attend due to illness, but those who attended did not miss out on hearing “Li’l King” thanks to Dr. Mead reading the poem instead.

JaQuan Wiley, another first-year student from Dr. Mead’s cultural diversity class, read “Violins or Violen…ce,” also by Frank X Walker.

JaQuan Wiley said, “I’m actually happy to have done this.”

The music videos shown reinforced the theme of nonviolence and racial acceptance, including the song “I Have A Dream” by Common featuring Will.i.am. Both of these men are African American hip-hop artists and used a mixture of clips from the movie Freedom Writers and images of The Holocaust and Civil Rights Movement to promote equality and freedom during a recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Since the fight was for civil rights was still going on, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. explained why he was accepting the Nobel Prize award: “…this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time – the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.”

During an interview, Dr. Mead addressed the questions of whether Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. could still be king, whether his philosophies and forms of protest still be accepted or effective and whether Dr. King could make an impact on college students today as he did during his time?

Dr. Mead’s answer to these questions: “He’d be a preacher and he would be right in the middle of that. He might be have been like Ted Jakes, I don’t know, he might have reached people like that. He might be talking about the wars, these injustices, and this poverty we have. He’d be crazed by what’s happened to these past four years. He’d be calling Congress to task. I think that King would have spoken to a good number of people. I think there are a good number of people who want nonviolent solutions.”

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