Program remembers civil rights leaders on 50th anniversary of assassination

GENEVA — The legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Will be honored Wednesday by Hobart and William Smith Colleges in conjunction with the Geneva community on the 50th anniversary of his death.

As part of a national day of recognition led by the National Civil Rights Museum, the local event is organized by Alpha Phi Alpha, Hobart’s chapter of the first fraternity for African American men, and Montrose Streeter, associate vice president of Campus Life and dean of students.

“A lot of the issues for which Dr. King lived and died are still relevant 50 years later, and we must ask where we go from here,” said Streeter. “Hopefully we are compelled to take up the torch and continue to work together as a community toward a more equitable and just world.”

With a welcome from Mt. Olive pastor, the Rev. Donald Golden, the Geneva service will include a keynote address, “Where Do We Go from Here?,” by Justin Rose, assistant professor of political science and co-chair of Africana Studies, whose work focuses primarily on the impact of King’s life. The April 4 service will also include excerpts from three of King’s speeches and several of his favorite hymns.

“We are currently being challenged to think about how we, as a nation, define greatness,” said Rose. “Dr. King called upon us to define greatness in terms of how well we come together to defeat what he called the triple evils: racism, materialism and militarism. Thus, when gauging progress for people of color and other marginalized communities, we must acknowledge that we have made many strides as a nation. However, in many ways, we are further away from King’s vision of greatness.”

Remarks will also be offered by Geneva NAACP President Lucile Mallard; the Rev. James H. Adams of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church; and representatives from the African American Men’s Association, as well as Alpha Phi Alpha.

“The 50th anniversary makes me understand that our heroes only become more important and relevant with time,” says Alpha Phi Alpha President Sadeek Walker, a political science major graduating this year. “In my early college years, I came to realize that Dr. King is arguably the most important American leader of the 20th century. Growing up, I understood Dr. King as a civil rights hero, but within the past few years, I’ve come to understand his role as a global leader.”

 

If you go

WHAT: “Where do we go from Here?,” a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King by Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the Geneva Community

WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, the 50th anniversary of King's assassination in Memphis

WHERE: Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, 70 Clark St., Geneva

DETAIL: The event is free and open to the public; a reception will follow in Fellowship Hall