Kennesaw State honors legacy of MLK with week of service, remembrance

KENNESAW, Ga. | Jan 19, 2024

Charles Black
Charles Black
The deeds and words of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. were celebrated throughout the Kennesaw State University community this week with a series of events honoring the legacy of the civil rights icon.

The week culminated Friday at the annual MLK Legacy Breakfast in the Convocation Center with a keynote address by civil rights activist and actor Charles Black, who served and led several marches, sit-ins and other forms of protest opposing facilities that refused to serve people of color.

“During our campaigns in the 1960s, we understood that many who were not willing to picket, sit in or go to jail, would make phone calls, make signs, make sandwiches, buy transportation, serve as lookouts,” Black said. “Each contribution, large or small, made for the success of our efforts. This lesson is as valid today as it was six and a half decades ago. We must stay the course, with lesser assurance that we shall overcome.”

The breakfast was attended by university and community leaders, students, faculty and staff.

To cap off the week, KSU’s Department of Student Leadership hosted the MLK Remembrance Luncheon on Friday at the Wilson Student Center on the Marietta Campus. Celebrations began with an MLK tribute during halftime of the Owls women’s basketball game on Jan. 13.

While the University was closed Monday in observance of the King holiday, about 40 KSU students gathered to pack 900 bags of toiletry items for people in need to be distributed by the Salvation Army in Marietta. The event was organized by KSU’s Office of Student Volunteerism and Service in partnership with Project U First, a nonprofit organization serving people in homeless shelters, foster care and schools in low-income neighborhoods.

The annual Six Voices Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was held in the Carmichael Student Center on Thursday featuring a mix of student, faculty and alumni presenters sharing remarks, poetry and songs.

Opening speaker Sean Brinkley Jr., KSU alum and assistant director, alumni engagement, told of overcoming a reluctance to speak up on important issues.

 “I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important must be spoken,” Brinkley said. “King understood the complexity of silence and how certain stances, actions or behaviors have the same impact as physically being silent. You see in Dr. King an evolution of self and that he challenges his own silence by constantly engaging with new concepts outside of racially driven discrimination.”

King was the most prominent leader in the U.S. civil rights movement during the 1960s when he was assassinated in 1968. The federal holiday honoring his legacy was first celebrated in 1986, and KSU annually honors his legacy.

– Gary Tanner and Darius Goodman

Photos by Matthew Yung

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