WWU to Celebrate Martin Luther King’s Legacy

Elliott Black and Terry MartinWilliam Woods University will honor the memory of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. by holding several events designed to pay tribute to his history, his beliefs and his contributions.


The events will begin on Martin Luther King Day, Monday (Jan. 18), with the showing of a documentary featuring the Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles, the man who was with King when he was assassinated. Next month, Feb. 8-10, Kyles will visit WWU to share his experiences with the campus and community.


When King was killed April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tenn., at the age of 39, Kyles was the only person standing on the balcony with the civil rights leader.  Adam Pertofsky’s 2008 Oscar-nominated, 32-minute documentary, “The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306,” recounts Kyles’ memory of that day.


The documentary will be shown Jan. 18 in the Ivy Room on the lower level of Tucker Dining Hall at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The viewings are free and open to the public. Copies of the documentary will be available to buy Jan. 18, and Kyles will autograph the DVD during his campus visit.


On Jan. 19, students will celebrate the life and legacy of King by creating a banner containing anti-discriminatory comments that will later be displayed on campus. The event, titled “Speak No Evil,” was created to recognize the existence of discriminatory remarks and to continue King’s battle against them.


Teresa RosaDr. Steve Huenneke, assistant professor of economics, will present a program on “A Map of the Mind of Martin Luther King: Routes to Not Only Human Rights, but Also Human Possibility” at 3 p.m. Jan. 20 in Room 100 of the Burton Business Building.


In “Maps of the Mind” (1981) Charles Hampden-Turner offered a vision of the contribution which the mind of Martin Luther King makes to everyone because it transcends place, culture and history.


“We compulsively exaggerate our differences while ignoring what we have in common,” Hampden-Turner wrote, referring to the social-problem-at-large. The map about the mind of Dr. King emphasizes “connectedness, coherence, relationship and wholeness” in place of extremism, opposition, doubt, fear and suspicion.


On Jan. 21students will have the opportunity to participate in an activity further exploring King’s fight against discrimination. The event, “See No Evil,” recognizes the blind community and will require students to do specific timed tasks while blindfolded. Prizes will be available to winning teams.


Artwork celebrating Martin Luther King is being displayed in the Corridor Gallery of the Gladys Woods Kemper Center for the Arts through Feb. 15. Basic design students of Terry Martin, professor of art, created collage art based on the design principle of contrast. Images of the civil rights era of the 1960s were cut into strips and juxtaposed with image strips of the present time. The community is invited to view the exhibit and create their own pieces to add to the display.



Teresa Rosa of Seabrook, N.H., works on her collage for the Martin Luther King exhibit.


Terry Martin (right), professor of art, helps Elliott Black of St. Louis (South County) with his artwork for the Martin Luther King exhibit.