MLK Jr. Day of Observance and Celebration set to premiere on Monday

Marshall University will present the program “Lest We Forget…Memorable MLK Letters and Speeches” in observance and celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.

The program features readings of letters and speeches by King, including “Letter to Coretta,” which was written in 1960 and “The Other America,” written in 1967. Other features include musical selections by Marshall School of Music faculty members Dr. Carline Waugh and Dr. Henning Vauth. Marshall President Brad D. Smith and Vice President for Student Affairs Maurice Cooley will also give special remarks.

“Dr. King is among the widest and most spiritually gifted humans ever,” said Cooley, who is also the vice president for intercultural affairs at Marshall. “The title of our program, ‘Lest We Forget,’ has its origin in the very scripture that he often taught us from. We must not forget serious history and matters that have occurred in the past, if we have hope of preparing ourselves for the future. We are pleased to offer some of his most memorable, but lesser-known, speeches and letters, as eloquent and moving as those that are common.”

Burnis Morris, Carter G. Woodson professor of journalism and mass communications at Marshall, says it’s important to pause and remember King’s accomplishments because his work transformed America and forced it to live up to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

“Dr. King’s impact cannot be overstated,” said Morris. “His work showed how local citizens can band together and bring about needed change in city councils, school boards, legislatures and business. He awakened universities and schools across the country to what needed to be done to begin addressing our problems. Our community must continue to follow, learn and observe from his vision and commitment.”

Cooley and Morris recently appeared on WSAZ-TV’s “First Look at Four,” discussing the program and the importance of remembering Dr. King’s work and using it as a catalyst to move forward. To view the segment, click here.

Ahead of the “Lest We Forget” program’s online debut, community members are invited to take part in the Huntington-Cabell NAACP’s annual MLK Jr. Freedom March, which begins at the 16th Street Baptist Church at 4 p.m. and ends at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards Playhouse on Fifth Avenue in Huntington. Upon arrival, community activist David Harris will speak briefly on the importance of voting rights and the need for improved voting rights legislation. Those in attendance are strongly encouraged to wear a mask and remain socially distanced.

“Lest We Forget…Memorable MLK Letters and Speeches” will be presented virtually, premiering on the university’s Facebook page at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17.