MLK Day in Athens

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"We don't want to hold it to the black community. We want other people to come out and understand what's going on in our lifes." Jordan Tyner's wish for this year's Martin Luther King's Day celebration in Athens should be fulfiled. The Ohio University student is the Vice President of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the fraternity to which Martin Luther King Junior belonged when he was a student.

Jordan Tyner and his fraternity brothers wanted to share this holiday with the Athens community and Athenians came. About a hundred people met Monday morning and walked – despite the cold – the Silent March through College Green, down Court Street to Baker Center. It would be a good way to remember MLK Jr.'s peaceful protest measures, Tyner explained. "That is what he did, he did a Silent March. To show significance to that and how effective it is we thought it would be a good idea to bring that back to this campus."

The march ended in Baker Center, in its sold-out ballroom where the traditional MLK Jr. brunch offered food, speeches and performances. The brunch's highlight was keynote speaker Fredrick Harris. For him, this day was important. "It's because of Dr. King and those who were involved in the Civil Rights Movement that I am able to speak today at a place like Ohio University", said the Columbia University Professor. Grewing up in Atlanta he remembered his grandmother crying when Martin Luther King Junior's funeral took place in his hometown. "In many ways I grew up as kid in Atlanta in the shadow of Dr. King and so it's very special for me that we remember his legacy and celebrate him", he explained.

But the professor for political sciences and director of the Center on African-American Politics and Society at Columbia University also wanted to highlight the role of other activists of the Civil Rights Movement. Therfore he called his speech "James Baldwin in a house that race built". With it he emphasized the American writer Baldwin and refered to his impact on today's society and the deep roots of racism. "Of course it's Martin Luther King's Day", he said. "But I don't think we shoud forget others who were very important in the Civil Rights struggle like James Baldwin and think about their contributions." 

…..not done yet…





because I think we need a wider lens to think about that past as well as about how the country shoud go forward and bring social justice to that nation.


title of the speech: James Baldwin in a house that race built

about this literaty figuere who was also an activist during the civil rights mocement – what he would have thought compared to the civil rights activist malcome x and mlk. when they were both thinking about issues in 1963, how do their views inform us about waht's going on today. So what I talk about are the deep roots of racism and how the literary figuere James Baldwin talked about embracing the stranger and not pushing away what he described at 'the other'. So embracing the idea then when he was speaking in 1963 about the negro.

I chose it (this speech) because often times a figure like Baldwin get lost between these two important figures. 



"I just want people to understand that there are still issues that need to be faced by our community." Issues as far as racial discrimination and diversity.