HOUGHTON -- Martin Luther King Week at Michigan Technological University began on Monday, Jan. 19, with the theme "Past Hope, Towards Change." The events began on Monday with the "I Have A Dream" speech, recited in its entirety by Nicole White, treasurer of the Black Student Association (BSA).
At one point White echoed the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: "I have a dream that my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
The speech drew a varied crowd of Michigan Tech students, staff and community members, who participated in the candlelight march afterwards. The marchers proceeded across campus while being led in the negro spiritual "Lift Every Voice And Sing," James Weldon Johnson's poem, now considered "The Negro National Anthem."* The crowd drew more members as others joined, singing the anthem through twice.
During the Martin Luther King event in the Rozsa lobby, MTU students, from left, Patrick Jasczak, Steve Rutkowski and Colin Singleton model the Martin Luther King tee shirts they made for the occasion. (Photo © 2009 Joshua Jensen)
The march ended at the Rozsa Center with a small reception of refreshments and hot chocolate. The crowd mingled until ushered into seats to listen to the opening speeches of members of the Black Student Association. Lisa Grayson, BSA secretary, spoke first. She was followed by Derelle Redmond.
During the reception for students, faculty and community in the lobby of the Rozsa Center, Derelle Redmond of MTU's Black Student Association addresses the crowd who participated in the candlelight march honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., on Jan. 19, 2009. (Photo © 2009 Joshua Jensen)
Redmond began his speech with the words, "a man can live 28 days without food. . . but cannot live one second without hope." His speech then explored the concept of hope, setting a theme for the week.
Editor's Note: A video with the actual film of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered during the 1963 March on Washington, is available on MLK Online.
*The text of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" is also available online. Click here.
Joshua Jensen, Keweenaw Now guest writer, is a second-year student of civil engineering at Michigan Tech University.