Max Denning

Even though it’s a week until the nationwide day celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Eastern Oregon University is beginning its two-week recognition of the leader of the civil rights movement today.

EOU’s Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion is partnering with the EOU Diversity Committee, Student Council for Multicultural Affairs and Student Support Services to host an exhibition, a concert, and a presentation and discussion over the next two weeks. Bennie Moses-Mesubed, director of student diversity and inclusion, said she is looking forward to the celebration.

“It’s a two-week event that honors and celebrates the life and legacy of MLK Jr.,” Moses-Mesubed said. “It really recognizes his work with the civil rights movement and also the messages and themes he brought (that help us) to build a more inclusive community.”

The events begin with the opening reception for an exhibition on loan from Humanities Texas titled “The Road to the Promised Land: MLK Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement” at 4 p.m. today in the Inlow Hall Welcome Center.

The exhibit includes photographs and facsimiles of documents and quotations from Dr. King and others engaged in the civil rights movement. It includes a timeline starting with the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 through the 1990s. Moses-Mesubed said the display contains an abundance of information that may spur individuals to do additional research.

The exhibit will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Jan. 23.

At 7 p.m. Jan. 15, a multimedia performance will take place in Groth Recital Hall in Loso Hall entitled “The Langston Hughes Project: Jazz, Spoken Word and Imagery Concert.” The event was created by USC Music Professor Ron McCurdy. A poet, Hughes was a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance and wrote famous poems including “I, Too” and “Dream Deferred.”

The two-week celebration will conclude with a presentation and discussion facilitated by EOU’s General Counsel Chris Burford at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 22 at the La Grande Methodist Church on 1612 Fourth Street. Burford will use recordings and quotations from Dr. King’s speeches to spark discussion among attendees.

“Martin Luther King Jr.’s message and his work was never about only desegregating or fighting formal, legal segregation in the south,” Burford said. “From the very start of his ministry, even before he was a public figure, he was interested in issues of justice and equity across the board.”

See complete story in Monday's Observer.