Celebrations to keep leader’s ‘dream’ alive

By Josh Albrecht

The legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. lives on at NIU with the help of two memorial events today.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. will hold a vigil at noon around the MLK bust in the King Memorial Commons to show their respect for the late civil rights leader.

Roosevelt Griffin, Alpha Phi Alpha president, said the annual remembrance is meaningful to the fraternity because King was a member of their organization.

“We will pay homage to King by joining and singing the fraternity hymn around the statue,” Griffin said.

The MLK Commons was dedicated on Dec. 8, 1983, and in 1993, the bust of King was donated by sculptor Peter Fagan. The MLK Commons also is home to NIU’s free speech area, which in itself is a remembrance of the man who fought for civil rights.

A birthday celebration sponsored by the Black Student Union also will serve to preserve the ideals that King fought for.

Edward Quinn, Black Student Union president, said the evening features a panel discussion, along with a celebratory party afterward.

“It’s important to keep his dream alive and to consistently keep it going,” Quinn said.

Van Amos, Center for Black Studies program coordinator, said the panel discussion will focus on King and Malcolm X and their impact on society.

“It will discuss the life and times of these great leaders,” Amos said. “And why were they significant.”

Amos added that the forum opens an opportunity for people to see things from a new perspective by comparing two historical figures and because the panel will focus the discussion on the questions asked during the evening.

Amos expects to hear questions about the assassinations of the two influential leaders.

“There are plenty of conspiracy theories,” Amos said. “But what did they do that was so bad?”