Fifty years in the making

Reading Time: 2 minutes UVU to pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and 50th anniversary of ‘I Have a Dream’ speech

Reading Time: 2 minutes
As part of the university’s week-long commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Clarence Jones, a speechwriter of the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, will be the keynote speaker on Jan. 24 in the Grande Ballroom at 10 a.m.


A host of other activities will take place Jan. 22-25 on campus in respect of the civil rights activist who delivered the famous speech to thousands at the Washington Memorial on August 28, 1963.


“I think that speech really helped to take the movement to outside a Black and White issue to make it a human rights issue – the content of your character, not the color of your skin, right?,” said Dr. William Cobb, Jr., history professor and coordinator for the MLK Committee. “[Martin Luther King, Jr.] had a way of saying it that you couldn’t disagree with, whether you’re a liberal or a conservative, or from the South or the North.”


Shedding light on contemporary human rights issues while maintaining the significance of the historical struggle for civil rights was important to the MLK Committee this year, as members sought out opportunities modernize the event’s presence on campus.

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“This part of American history is such a dark part of our history that needs to be talked about,” said Glennie Olah, UVUSA multi-cultural representative and member of the MLK Committee. “This year we have Clarence Jones, who fits in nicely with what we need in 2013, which marks 50 years since the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. He was a key figure in making that happen.”


Multiple panel presentations will continue through the week, as well as a screening of “To Kill a Mockingbird” on Jan. 22 and a performance of “The Crucible” by the UVU Theater Department beginning Jan. 24.


Some of the panel topics reflect modern-day rights issues, including “Poverty and the Prophetic: Influences on Social Change and Inequality,” “Mormon Family, Gay Child” and “Borders and Bullying: Rewriting Identities in 2013.”


Tyler Brklacich, student senator for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, thinks the event appeals to so many students because they find their own way to relate to the event, whether it is because of religion, culture, race or sexual orientation.


“There is probably something in our society that makes them feel inferior in some way or different, and this is an opportunity where we’re all coming together and saying ‘no, we’re all equal,’” Brklacich said. “As a university, we can all stand together and say ‘we’re not accepting enough’ and open up the doors to enlighten people so they have that knowledge of not just Black and White anymore.”


All events, except for “The Crucible,” will be free and open to the public. Performances of The Crucible will be held at the Noorda Regional Theater. Tickets range from $10-15.