Minority leadership has been a topic that I have so much more interest in as I have gotten older and can finally have a better grasp on many different concepts that I may not have understood when I was younger.
On Jan. 21, we remembered a monumental figure in the Civil Rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Growing up, learning about Dr. King was always something that I looked forward to. I have long considered him to be one of my heroes. The way he used cognitive dissonance within his “I Have a Dream” speech to invoke thought and to make people uncomfortable fascinates me. This year, like every year, we were given Martin Luther King Day off from classes. The following day, on Jan. 22, chapel’s theme focused on Dr. King. Though it was a well- thought-out chapel, it just did not sit well with me. Since we were talking about a figure that was so prominent for the rights of minorities, it would’ve been a good time to show strong minority leadership on campus.
There are strong African American leaders on campus that could have spoken during that time in chapel. Having an African American speak on Dr. King’s impact could have created a different atmosphere, and more people might have paid attention to the message.
I am not trying to say that people who aren’t African American can’t speak about Dr. King. In the setting of chapel on Martin Luther King Day, however, I felt it would’ve been more appropriate to display minority leadership. I think it would’ve been better to have shown minority leadership because Dr. King was a strong minority leader during the movement. Having a strong minority leader on stage giving his perspective on the topic would’ve shown what great strides King made.
Additionally, throughout the chapel talk, the speaker used the word “negro” repeatedly.
Even though it was used in direct quotes, I personally felt that there were words he could’ve used in place of “negro.”To me, the word represents decades of oppression, and hearing it from someone who would have not been oppressed during the time took away from the message a bit.
I also wish that chapel wasn’t just focused on how the speech “I Have a Dream” was used as a sermon, but also on how it was equally used for political purposes.
To me, the true importance of the speech comes from its political meaning because at the time it was given, race seemed to be largely a political topic. There were things African American citizens could not do that their Caucasian counterparts could. African Americans could not vote, had separate schools, drank from segregated water fountains and weren’t treated like basic human beings. Thus, the speech was as much a political statement as a religious one.
I feel that chapel would’ve been a little bit stronger if it had incorporated these aspects, which I felt weren’t represented.