Campus celebrates MLK Day


Jeffrey Grice and Teresa Ramey join to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the annual event on Jan. 12.

Tiffany Roper, Staff Writer

The Florence Chamber of Commerce, Francis Marion University and McLeod Health sponsored the 14th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration on Jan. 12 in Chapman Auditorium.

Vice President for Student Affairs Teresa Ramey presided over the event and worked closely with other FMU staff members and members of the city of Florence to bring the program together.

“The purpose of the celebration is to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Ramey said. “To celebrate his life, his purpose and to further explore the dream he had.”

The program began with the singing of the African-American National Anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” by James Weldon Johnson followed by an opening prayer from FMU Student Body President, William “Cody” Simpson.

There was also a musical selection from the MLK Celebration Ensemble. Although this is the fourteenth year that the celebration has been held, this is only the second year that the Ensemble has sung in the program.

“The most I’ve done for this year’s celebration was getting the Ensemble together,” Ramey said.

Founder/CEO of AnnBro International Training and Business Consulting Dr. Annie Brown took the stage to introduce the keynote speaker for the evening, Rev. Jesse Washington.

Washington, who is a former Executive Director of the SC Human Affairs Com-mission, spoke about the works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

He recalled his visit to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN to the audience and stated that it looked as though the scene where King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 had been “frozen in time.”

Quindell Roddey, a junior accounting major at FMU, attended the event.

“The event was definitely an eye-opener,” Roddey said. “To hear about how King influenced someone else from their perspective was very interesting.”

Washington made several points about King, such as he is the only American who has a legal day dedicated to his services.

He also spoke about how King and other prominent leaders of the civil rights movement paved the way for others and stood up for what was right.

“I thought it was wonderful, I thought it was inspiring, and I think everything that he said directed people in the direction of action,” Ramey said.

The keynote speaker continued his speech about Dr. King’s work and legacy over the years and how he admires everything that he has done for the human race as a whole. He explained to the audience the meaning of altruism.

“Learning about the various types of altruism was something that I have never heard before when hearing about Dr. King,” Roddey said. “Hearing it all together made sense, and I can understand how Dr. King was as powerful as he was.”

Washington also talked about his experience when meeting the late wife of Dr. King, Coretta Scott King.

He shared with the audience their conversation about the last phone call that King made to his wife and Washington called it the “unpreached sermon.” Before his assassination on April 4, 1963, King told his wife over the phone that when he got back to Atlanta from Memphis, he was going to preach a sermon to his church congregation about “agape love” meaning unconditional love.

“I believe that last phone call that Dr. King left with his wife was a message to everyone,” Roddey said. “All he ever wanted was for everyone to love each other equally.”