Speakers celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was remembered and celebrated by Eastern Michigan University students and faculty on campus when they gathered at the statue of the civil rights pioneer on Wednesday, August 28.

EMU junior Darius Simpson, a political science major, showed up a bit late but said he felt obligated to attend the event regardless.

“I had a feeling of responsibility to honor Dr. King,” he said.

King gave the speech on August 28, 1963 in front of the Lincoln Memorial, and it is considered a defining moment for the civil rights movement in America.

The ceremony was held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Gardens outside of Welch Hall. It included the recorded speech played in full, and words from State Representative David Rutledge and Ronald Woods, an Eastern Michigan University professor in the department of Africology and African American Studies.

EMU junior Allison Thomas, a biochemistry major, was in attendance for the ceremony and said the commemoration for the speech was moving.

“It was 50 years ago, and to see how far we’ve come in that amount of time is inspiring,” she said. “As a black woman, I want to strive for success and to follow in Dr. King’s footsteps.”

About 100 students and faculty were in attendance, and Thomas said she had hoped more of the student body came out to remember the legendary speech.

“They missed out on just being part of the celebration and being part of a fellowship with all different types of people and ethnicities.”

EMU senior Ashley Davis, a biochemistry major, attended the ceremony after she saw information about the event on EMU’s website.

“I just felt like I had to be here,” she said.

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