King Day arrives late

Students fill their plates at the buffet at the Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon before Mark Lloyds speech Feb. 5.

Students fill their plates at the buffet at the Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon before Mark Lloyd’s speech Feb. 5.

After rescheduling three times, the Martin Luther King, Jr. luncheon took place at noon Feb. 5 in the Billingsly Student Center.

Before the luncheon, Bakari Kitwana spoke in Webster Hall Auditorium on his book Why White Kids Love Hip Hop: Wangstas, Wiggers, Wannabes, and the New Reality of Race in America. He has traveled across the country and presented his findings on culture and how it affects people today in 48 of the 50 states.

“I’ve been traveling and lecturing, by invitation, and documenting hip hop,” Kitwana said. “I’m finding how hip hop is being lived.”

Students said they were intrigued by Kitwana’s thoughts and they enjoyed the lecture.

“I liked his views on everything,” said Erin Klaus, junior psychology and criminal justice major. “I found (his ideas) really interesting and I agreed with a lot of them.”

As students and faculty attended the luncheon, members of the Campus Activities Board, who teamed up with Southern Impact for the event, said they were pleased with the number of participants.

“We’ve had a pretty good turnout,” said Tori Christiansen, director of student activities. “For being rescheduled three times, it’s going pretty well.”

Daron Harris, junior mass communications major, opened the event with prayer, and then introduced the speakers at the luncheon. Some students said they agreed and were supportive of the event, but objected to the format.

“I object to there being a prayer,” said Shawna Clawson, junior psychology major. “There is separation of state and religion, but given who it is, I understand the reasoning behind it, and I’m sure wherever Dr. King is, he appreciates being remembered.”

Richard Abram delivered a “spoken word,” which turned heads.

“It was like a shock treatment to get everyone’s attention,” said Danny Bailey, junior mass communication major. “It was a spoken word that turned into a rap.”

The room fell silent as Dana Mae Robbs, senior biology major, sang an acappella solo. After she finished, Harris asked the audience to applaud once more for Robbs and her talented voice.

The final speaker of the event, Mark Lloyd, shared his story of his first experience at Missouri Southern. At the time, he was one of four black members of the faculty. When he came to Southern, he was looking for a mentor, not another black person, but a leader.

Dr. Al Carnine, professor of music, shares Lloyd’s desire for good leadership. Carnine said he was interested in learning about Martin Luther King, the legacy and the man.

“I think whether you talk to whites or blacks, we’re still looking for leadership,” Carnine said.

This was the first Martin Luther King event Carnine has been able to attend, due to his busy class schedule. The event not only fit well into the faculty’s schedules, but the students’ schedules as well. Gabby Smith, junior psychology major, thought the event was timed perfectly. Dr. Gwendolyn Murdock, professor of psychology, adjusted her class schedule so students could attend. Dustin Shumaker, senior psychology major, said his Junior Seminar class was attending the event.

Jeremy Latham, senior psychology major, said King wasn’t necessarily his hero, but Latham considers him a significant historical figure. Carrol Burger, sophomore psychology major, said King was on her honored list next to Ghandi. Students found both events a “blessing in disguise,” since the events were rescheduled for February, which is Black History Month. The people who attended and planned the events were people who would not take no for an answer.

“I really enjoyed the events a lot because there were a lot of things that were said and needed to be said,” Bailey said. “I appreciate CAB and Southern Impact bringing them to us.”

The next Martin Luther King event will be a breakfast at 7 a.m. Feb. 12 in the Billingsly Student Center with keynote speaker Michelle Ducree. In order to attend, faculty and staff must RSVP to 659-4426 or contact Dr. Al Cade at [email protected]. Students may RSVP at ext. 9324 or the student activities office.