Monday, January 21, 2008

MTU students honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Michele Bourdieu*

Vincent Iduma, originally of Enugu, Nigeria, and now of Detroit, delivers Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, while Ashli Fueri of Farmington Hills, Mich., displays King's photo, in front of the Memorial Union Building (MUB) on the Michigan Tech Campus Monday, Jan. 21, 2008. (Photo © 2008 Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- Despite single-digit temperatures this morning, Jan. 21, a large group of Michigan Tech University students, faculty and staff turned out for a ceremony honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. A reading of King's inspiring "I Have a Dream" speech, which King delivered during the 1963 March on Washington, was followed by a candlelight procession from the Memorial Union Building to the Rozsa Center on the MTU campus.

Vincent Iduma, an MTU senior in biomedical engineering, continued the tradition of reading the "I Have a Dream" speech in honor of King's birthday (actually Jan. 15, 1929), celebrated nationally today. Iduma, president of the Glory to Glory Campus Ministry, is also the regional publicity chair of the National Society of Black Engineers. Iduma and his family are from Enugu, Nigeria, but now live in Detroit.

This video clip is an excerpt from Vincent Iduma's reading of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Michigan Tech Memorial Union Building on Jan. 21, 2008. (Video © 2008 Keweenaw Now)

Ashli Fueri, vice-president of the National Society of Black Engineers and a member of MTU's Black Student Association, displayed a photo of King during the reading of the speech and the candlelight procession that followed. During the procession participants joined in singing James Weldon Johnson's "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," the African American National Hymn.

Singing "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," the African American National Hymn, Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff follow a colorful banner commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr., the famed civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, during a candlelight procession from the MUB to the Rozsa Center on Jan. 21. (Photo © 2008 Keweenaw Now)

In the lobby of the Rozsa Center participants warmed up with hot chocolate and cookies, followed by two student presentations.

"Past to Present" was the title of a talk by Lisa Grayson, who invoked the example of African American leaders and pioneers -- from Frederick Douglass to Harriet Tubman to Oprah Winfrey. All of these leaders, Grayson said, shared with King an "awareness" and made or are making people aware of the world around them. Grayson, of Detroit, is majoring in interdisciplinary liberal arts.

MTU student Lisa Grayson of Detroit cites the example of several African American leaders who, like Martin Luther King, have served as role models for young African Americans who want to pursue their educational goals. (Photo © 2008 Keweenaw Now)

Noting that her own parents had attended segregated schools, Grayson expressed her strong belief in the value of education.

"Education cannot be taken away from you," she said.

Tendi Hungwe, originally from Zimbabwe, followed with her presentation, "Present to Future." Hungwe mentioned that her parents moved to Houghton especially so that she and her sisters could attend school here. Her own goal is to attend medical school, beginning next year.

MTU senior Tendi Hungwe, originally of Zimbabwe, whose family now lives in Houghton, speaks about "Present to Future," during the Martin Luther King Day ceremonies in the Rozsa Center Jan. 21. (Photo © 2008 Keweenaw Now)

"I can stand here today as a result of a legacy here over 50 years ago," Hungwe said in reference to Martin Luther King's work in the Civil Rights Movement. "He refused to accept that the situation around him could not change."

More events, sponsored by MTU's Black Student Association and Educational Opportunity department, are planned in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., this week. See our previous article for the schedule.

*Editor's Note: The author of this article, editor of Keweenaw Now, formerly Michele Anderson, recently changed her name to Michele Bourdieu, through marriage to Gustavo Bourdieu, also of Hancock.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

MTU to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., Jan. 21-26

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Technological University is holding a series of events Jan. 21-26, in recognition of Martin Luther King's birthday, observed Monday, Jan. 21. The MLK events are sponsored by the Black Student Association and Educational Opportunity.

Classes are not held on Monday in recognition of Martin Luther King Day. At noon, senior Vincent Iduma will deliver King's "I Have a Dream" speech outside the Memorial Union. A candle-lighting ceremony will be held, followed by a walk to the Rozsa Center. The public is welcome to attend. In the Horner Lobby, two undergraduates will discuss their personal experiences at Michigan Tech and their hopes for the future. Lisa Grayson will present "Past to Present," and Tendi Hungwe will give the talk "Present to Future."

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, in Fisher 329, Assistant Professor Matthew Seigel (Humanities) will give a talk, "Mixing Blood: On a Diverse Lit, Obiter Dicta," Latin for "things which are said in passing." He will discuss the landscape of American literature post-King and the relationship between the civil rights movements of the 1950s, '60s and '70s and American literature.

On Wednesday at 6 p.m., in Fisher 139, Keweenaw Pride will host "Eye of the Storm," based on the “Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes” exercise devised for a third-grade, all-white class in response to King's assassination in 1968. The exercise labels its participants as inferior or superior based on eye color, exposing them to the experiences of being a minority.

The Black Student Association will host a free movie and discussion at 6 p.m. on Thursday in Fisher 329. The title will be announced later.

MLK Week observances are capped by the Martin Luther King Jr. Banquet, set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26. State Rep. George Cushingberry (D-Detroit) will be the keynote speaker; he will be introduced by State Rep. Mike Lahti (D-Hancock).

In addition to serving in the State House of Representatives from 1974 to 1982, Cushingberry chairs the House Appropriations Committee. He also served on the Wayne County Board of Commissioners for 16 years, practices law, and is an assistant pastor of New Starlight Baptist Church.

The MLK Gospel Choir will give a performance dedicated to Inetta Harris, who died Jan. 14, 2008. Harris, a former faculty member in the Fine Arts Department, directed the University's Echoes from Heaven Gospel Choir from 1994 to 2003.

Tickets for the banquet are $10 for students, $15 for everyone else, and are available from Educational Opportunity (at 487- 2920) and from the student concessions desk on the ground floor of the Memorial Union.

For more information, call Educational Opportunity at 906-487-2920.

Editor's Note: View a short video clip of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech on U Tube.