On Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) celebrated the life and legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. with the event, “Beyond the Speech: An Exploration of MLK’s Life and College Years.”
The program, which was held at the Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities, featured special guests from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the fraternity Dr. King belonged to. The Beta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha – specifically Jesse White, a member and educator in Bloomfield, and Glenn Spencer, Alpha Phi Alpha historian and educator – shared about MLK’s college years, his participation in the fraternity, and how that influenced his revolutionary work later in life.
“The University chose to highlight the life of Dr. King, rather than limit a program to two events in his entire time on earth,” said Rayna Dyton-White, director of Diversity & Inclusion/Title IX Coordinator. “If a person is only viewed standing on the National Mall addressing thousands at a rally, or receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, how can a college student, or any of us, see ourselves?”
To offer the audience greater insight into Dr. King’s life, Bloomfield-based group Sacred Harmony performed a popular hymn that he would have sung during his days in church. Additionally, Kappa Delta, the Undergraduate Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha at the University of Connecticut, performed a step show, demonstrating the history and legacy of the fraternity.
“It is important to see the greatness of Dr. King, but we must see the humanity if we want to carry on his legacy,” explained Dyton-White. “The men of Alpha Phi Alpha provided tangible, living examples of MLK’s legacy. MLK’s work directly reflects their aims of, ‘Manly Deeds, Scholarship, and Love for All Mankind.’”
Interested in attending future events at USJ’s Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities? Click here for a complete schedule.