USU students remember MLK Jr. with vigil

Students, community members, faculty and staff congregated on the Quad Wednesday night, while shielding white candles with gloved hands in order to keep their flames lit during a moment of silence for Martin Luther King Jr.USU’s Black Student Union held a candlelight vigil at 5:30 p.m. in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and brought two keynote speakers to educate the audience on Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement in connection with Human Rights Day. The first speaker was St. Joseph’s College’s political science associate professor David E. Dixon and second was pastor France A. Davis, who marched with King from Selma to the Capitol building in Montgomery, Ala.Davis shook the hands of many USU football players, who attended the event, which began as the audience rose for “The Black National Anthem”. After Moises Diaz, director of Multicultural Student Services, introduced the speakers, Dixon gave a speech highlighting the key role women played in the progression of the Civil Rights Movement.Dixon said, “It strikes me that these women don’t have much in common. What they do have in common is they handed down the Civil Rights Movement to their children.”He said one sure way to guarantee everyone has civil rights in decades to come is to teach young people King’s dream of equality. The Civil Rights Movement picked up speed when women joined the cause, Dixon said, because they had a great influence on younger generations. He listed many influential women in human rights activism from various ethnicities. Some of the listed included Edith Spurlock, the first African-American female judge; Della Sullins, an activist in the Tuskegee School integration and Mary McLeode Bethune, who advised President Franklin D. Roosevelt.Davis spoke next, revealing the four things King told him were necessary in achieving excellence and his experience marching to the front of the Capitol building in Montgomery alongside King.Davis said King looked like an ordinary man from the outside, but “when he opened his mouth, he was a man of greatness.”Davis said he first met King in an interview for an article he wrote, while attending the Tuskegee School. They later met again when King was invited to march to Montgomery after students and citizens from the area were not allowed to vote, Davis said. The students and citizens wanted to bring the attention of racist acts to the nation, and in front of Montgomery’s Capitol building, King executed one of his greatest speeches, Davis said.

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