Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center held the 46th Annual MLK Celebration on Monday, January 29, 2018, celebrating the life and legacy of he Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was an activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” MLK
A candlelight vigil by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Kappa Chapter was followed by the African American Voice Gospel Choir singing “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” Larry Williamson, director of the Hale Center, welcomed over 1200 attendees to the event. Welcome was also given by Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president for Student Life, and Mr. Robert Solomon, assistant vice provost in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion before Dr. Elaine Richardson, professor of Literacy Studies at Ohio State sang and Dionne Custer Edwards, nationally-recognized poet, spoken word artist and educator came on the stage.
The presentation of the 2018 MLK Memorial Scholarships brought forth a class of remarkable undergraduates whose careers includes providing leadership and service to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the university community. Established in 1970, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Scholarship is a full merit-based scholarship awarded to students who are junior rank or above with preference given to African-American students. Now funded by Ohio State’s Campus Campaign, this year, the scholarship was awarded to Alexandria Goolsby and Thomas R. Mengesha II.
After another musical selection from the African American Voices Gospel Choir, Cynthia Tyson, professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, introduced the keynote speaker. This year’s speaker, Nikki Giovanni, is an American poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator. One of the world's most well-known African American poets, her work includes poetry anthologies, poetry recordings, and nonfiction essays, and covers topics ranging from race and social issues to children's literature. Ms. Giovanni brought a simple but powerful message that we should focus on being happy and to be grateful for our gifts. And regardless of what gifts we have, we must use them, and never allow anyone to downplay our gifts and what we can accomplish with them.
The 2018 MLK Celebration was sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center in collaboration with Columbus State Community College. The event was supported by the Student Life Multicultural Center and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Kappa Chapter.