Thursday, September 23, 2010

Living the Legacy

On September 22, 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed a crowd of approximately 500 people at the College's Michaelmas Convocation, an annual ceremony that recognizes Saint Peter's College students for outstanding academic achievement. During his visit to the Jersey City campus, Dr. King was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws and Letters degree, the first offered by a Jesuit college or university.

According to an account in the school newspaper, Dr. King spoke against segregation and violence, and despite setbacks in the civil rights movement, King expressed optimism. "Although some will be scared, lose jobs and be called bad names, our problems will be solved," King said. "We shall overcome."

This special video was created collaboratively by Wilton Fontenette, manager of prospect research at Saint Peter's College, and her husband, George Fontenette. It features archival photos of Dr. King's appearance, beautiful music and information about his message. The video debuted as part of several events commemorating Dr. King's visit to Saint Peter's. Many students, staff, faculty and friends contributed to the success of the day's events. Keynote speaker Raymond Brown, Esq., delivered an educational presentation, sharing personal family stories about the civil rights movement, the history of Jersey City and the changes at Saint Peter's College over the past decades. The chorale and vocal performances were absolutely inspiring and left the audience hoping for an encore later this year. Students spent their lunch breaks in a popular campus caf√© watching videos of Dr. King's speeches on a large projection screen. All around the campus, signs were posted letting the community know where the different activities were scheduled. Stay tuned for a future blog post with a list of upcoming campus events related to Dr. King's work.

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