DeKALB — As part of Black Alumni Weekend, students gathered Friday in the MLK Commons for the rededication ceremony of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. bust.
The event was held from 4 to 4:15 p.m. with about 50 attendees. Among those who spoke were Student Association President Naomi Bolden and Maurice Thomas, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., which King was a member of as well.
The bust is located near the heart of campus, just a few feet away from the newly renovated Holmes Student Center. Benches dedicated to other Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. alumni surround surround the bust.
“The first was a man that went for the cause of what is right, a man that housed young men in that came from Chicago to NIU in Sycamore because the laws did not allow blacks in DeKalb,” Thomas said. “Years later they changed the laws. He was a faculty member here from 1964 up until 1989. We made him a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha. That’s no other than Stacey Dolby.”
King was a pioneer in the civil rights movement, determined to open doors for equality and justice in education, jobs, and society. The bust in the MLK Commons serves as a reminder of that for students, faculty and the general public, Bolden said.
“I definitely think that because it is being rededicated there’s a lot of [first-year students] here that have not seen the bust because it was moved prior to them being able to attend the campus,” Bolden said. “I hope that it brings them a sense of wanting to fight for something they believe in.”
The ceremony ended with the Alpha hymn, honoring King and the many other men from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.