President Steven Timmermans, Ph.D., opened the evening with an excerpt from a 1962 sermon of King’s, which was followed by a scripture reading from senior Edmond Mensah of Chicago. The celebration continued as Dr. David Brodnax, Sr., assistant professor of history, gave a presentation called “Reflections on Music and the Civil Rights Movement,” and the Trinity Gospel Choir performed a selection of songs.
The evening focused on the roles music and the Bible played in King’s life and activism.
“Music played an important role in the civil rights movement,” said Brodnax. “Although Dr. King has been gone for over 40 years, the songs of his civil rights movement live on.
“The songs of the civil rights movement inspire us to think differently,” added James Palmore, director of the Gospel Choir. “Social justice songs took on a biblical proportion.”
Senior Velvet Woods of Chicago also read from a speech King gave in 1967. Afterwards, attendees viewed a video commemorating King’s life. The video was created by Audio Visual Coordinator Dave Jousma and junior Justin James of Riverside, Illinois.
The evening concluded with closing remarks and prayer offered by Don Woo, dean for ethnic diversity and multicultural programs, who related the passage of 2 Corinthians 5:17–6:2 and the life of King to God’s call of Christians today.
“God did not call us to be comfortable,” Woo said. “He called us to make a difference.”