A phrase in Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech has captured the importance of current events and sparked the idea for the theme of the 2012 MLK Jr. campus celebrations.
This year’s theme is “The Fierce Urgency of Now.”
Irwin Weiser, chairman of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Planning Committee, said the committee discussed many possible themes and looked at many of Dr. King’s speeches before deciding on the theme. He said the committee was particularly interested in the “I Have a Dream” speech.
Weiser said the committee discussed the language in the famous speech and concluded that it is relevant to what is happening in the world with the “Occupy” movements and the interest of the country that has been generated by the current presidential election.
“All of those things were captured in that phrase, emphasizing that we have important decisions to make and important events going on in our culture and world now,” Weiser said.
To keep King’s legacy alive, Purdue’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion collaborated with members from all areas of the University to prepare the upcoming holiday’s calendar.
Today, Purdue libraries will have presentations set up in six of the campus libraries, while Boiler Television will start the monthly rotation of 18 movies, three of which will be based on the black culture.
Renee Thomas, Black Cultural Center director, said university residence assistants will lead discussions for the students after the showings.
“On Jan. 19, the Black Cultural Center will have a facilitated discussion over the movie ‘Ray’, which is open to the whole campus,” she said.
“Ray” is the story of Ray Charles, a man who went blind at the age of 7 and discovered his love for the piano while fighting with racism to perform his music.
The libraries will present the exhibits starting today and ending on Jan. 20.
One specific exhibit, “Behind the Mast of Women’s Leadership: Celebrating the Legacy of Dorothy Stratton,” will be up until March 30.
Nancy Hewison, associate dean for planning and administration, said the exhibits will showcase a little bit of everything, not only displays about Dr. King and civil rights, but also feature displays about sustainable energy and blacks who have excelled in a variety of disciplines and fields.
“The exhibits will draw upon the libraries’ collections of books, audiovisuals and online materials to create these displays,” she said.
Hewison said there is something for everyone at the exhibits, because they are not only focused on Dr. King’s life but also on the theme of celebration – “The Fierce Urgency of Now.”
“It is not just about one day a year, or black Americans, it’s about his message in life,” she said.