MARQUETTE – Northern Michigan University will honor the memory of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. with a “Journey to Equality” celebration Jan. 20-25.

The awareness activities will begin with a Commemorative Walk from 3-5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20. The campus community and general public are invited to participate. Walkers will meet in the lobby of Payne and Halverson Halls and proceed to the University Center.

A reception with refreshments will follow in the Peter White Lounge. Bill Hill and Alan Willis, co-chairs of the Martin Luther King committee at NMU, will host a brief ceremony addressing the contributions of King.

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, Dave and Pat Mair will present, “Voting Registration and the Ku Klux Klan.” The free event is scheduled from 3-5 p.m. in the Peter White Lounge of the University Center.

Dave Mair is a retired Presbyterian minister and his wife, Pat, is a retired nurse. They were actively involved in civil rights issues in the 1960s in Maryville, Tenn. The couple was subsequently accosted by the KKK and had two burning crosses placed on their front lawn while fully-robed KKK members surrounded their home. They have saved one of the burned crosses and use it as a tool to initiate conversations on civil rights issues.

The Mair’s presentation will be followed by open discussion, a question-and-answer session and an “open mike,” during which participants may share poetry, music and thoughts on the theme of “Journey to Equality.” Open-mike participants need to pre-register with the diversity student services office by calling 227-1554.

Alan Willis, a history professor at NMU, will present a colloquium entitled, “Are We Still Dreaming: Reflection on King and his Legacy” from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, in the University Center Pioneer Rooms.

An evening with John Trudell, former national chair of the American Indian Movement, is scheduled from 7-10 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, in the Great Lakes Rooms of the University Center.

Trudell participated in the 1969-71 occupation of Alcatraz Island by Indians of All Tribes and became the organizationÂ’s spokesperson. After the occupation, he worked with the American Indian Movement and served as chair from 1973-79.

He is known worldwide as a political activist, poet, songwriter and actor. Trudell has played prominent roles in the films “Thunderheart” and “Incident at Oglala,” both of which depicted the FBI incident that led to the incarceration of Leonard Peltier. The cost to attend the Trudell presentation is $2 for non-students. There is no charge for NMU students.

A “Unite Tonight Community Celebration” will round out the NMU activities. It will be held from 7-9 p.m. in room 105 Jamrich Hall. The celebration will feature individuals promoting the theme, “Journey to Equality,” through song, poetry, dancing, speech or some other talent. Student organizations are eligible for cash prizes. Participants will need to sign up in advance by calling diversity student services at 227-1554. Â   

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  Volunteers from NMU, local high schools and the community will bring the message of King into the classroom from Jan. 20 through mid-February. They will help students read portions of books depicting the leaderÂ’s life. Age-appropriate books about King will be distributed to 4th graders and preschoolers with the help of a grant from the Corporation for National Service.

Sponsoring organizations for the NMU Martin Luther King Jr. celebration activities include OUTlook, the Black Student Union and the NMU Ethnic and Cultural Diversity Committee.

For more information on the NMU celebration, call the diversity student services office at 227-1554.

Prepared By
Kristi Evans
News Director