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University to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Notre Dame has not yet held any campus events to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, observed Monday, but it has plans to do so. In addition, University leaders also participated in some community and off-campus events for the holiday.

Richard Pierce, chair of the University’s department of Africana studies and associate professor of history, led a discussion at Notre Dame Downtown, located on South Michigan Street, which focused on lesser-known civil rights activists.

Dean of First Year of Studies and theology professor Hugh Page was the keynote speaker at the “King Day” gospel program at the Century Center in South Bend. Page discussed the relationship between religion and social change at the annual program.

In recent years, celebrations of Martin Luther King Day at Notre Dame have included prayer services, a “peace quilt” made by students of Notre Dame and local elementary schools and an artistic showcase by students of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, and Holy Cross.

As in 2004, this year Notre Dame will be holding a town hall meeting. “A Call for Your Voice: The Responsibility of Every Man and Woman,” will take place Jan. 24 and will discuss topics such as politics and global humanitarian interests, economics, education, gender relations and cultural diversity at the University and Catholic social teaching. Faculty members on the panel will include Anthony Burrow, a researcher associate in the department of psychology, and Reanna Ursin, a visiting fellow in the department of Africana studies. Student members of the King Day committee, which organized the event, will also share the microphone during the meeting.

The meeting is sponsored by Campus Ministry and Multicultural Student Programs and Services and will be held at 7 p.m. in the student lounge of the Coleman-Morse Center. In addition to Tuesday’s event, there will be a similar discussion by selected student leaders and members of the King Day committee on Jan. 23, in the Main Building.

Students understood why the University did not hold any events honoring King this week.

“It would have been nice for the University to have done something because he really changed the way the country works, but it’s understandable that nothing happened because we all just got back from break,” freshman Eileen Helmer said. “Organizing and advertising any type of event would’ve been pretty hard.”