FMU hosted the 19th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 12. The event was organized with the help of multiple organizations, including SGA and NAACP as well as several FMU performers and fraternities.
The event began with a candlelight march, from the Wallace House at the front of the university to the Chapman Auditorium where the main event was held. A mixture of different performances and speeches made up the event.
The advisory committee consisted of Dr. Daphne Carter-McCants, assistant dean of students; Teresa J. Ramey, vice president for student affairs and Les Echols, director of community and minority enterprise for the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.
“This annual event helps to bring the campus community together in celebration of equality and human rights,” Dr. McCants said. “It’s also a great way to educate our students about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his role in the Civil Rights Movement.”
Dr. McCants said that she, the rest of the committee and all the student organizations involved have been working on the event since November.
The event began with a welcome from Alayah Hamlin, senior healthcare administration major and president of the FMU chapter of the NAACP.
“Tonight we will celebrate Dr. King’s legacy through the arts,” Hamlin said. “It is our goal to provide you with a true celebration of a man who took a stand against oppression and embraced inclusion.”
The first performance was given by the Praise in Motion Dance Ministry followed by the Young, Gifted, and Blessed Gospel Choir led by Mr. Jeffery Lampkin. The event ended with a Patriot Players’ theatrical performance of a piece written by Malcom Parker, junior theatre arts major.
“My inspiration was mainly the community, not just the black community, but all of us who are still fighting for many rights today,” Parker said. “I think that there is truly more work to be done. Dr. King took the first few steps towards equality, and now it’s time for us to do the same.”
During the event, Elijah Moton III, junior political science and psychology major delivered a tribute from Alpha Phi Alpha to honor Dr. King as a former member.
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s display of determination and illustration of African-American excellence is irresistible,” Moton said. “His ability to remain faithful while fighting until the end for this country through its most troubling times is one of the greatest things about this man.”
“A celebration of the arts – truly a great name for this event,” Echols said during his closing remarks. “The Chamber of Commerce is proud of Francis Marion for hosting this event.”
McLeod Health, HopeHealth and the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event. The Chamber of Commerce additionally donated $1,000 to the FMU Education Foundation to go towards scholarships.
“The event was a complete success,” Hamlin said. “The tributes from the students on campus were magnificent, the audience was very receiving and everyone who helped to create the event did so flawlessly.”
Approximately 300 people attended the event.
“I commend the University on what it is able to do to make all students feel important,” Hamlin said, “MLK Day here at FMU isn’t just a free day from school. It means something.”
Dr. McCants and Dean Teresa Ramey plan to continue the event next year, when the University will celebrate the 20th annual MLK Celebration event.
For additional information on the event please contact Dr. McCants at email@example.com or Dean Ramey at tramey@ fmarion.edu.