FAMU students have found several ways to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. “I usually do some kind of community service,” said Conni Cole, 20, a business administration/psychology student from Atlanta. “This year I plan to do something to give back to the community.”
Students may also want to participate in events ranging from a commemorative march to a weekend blues festival.
The Martin Luther King Commemorative Rally and March will take place Monday at the C.K. Steele Plaza. The program begins at 9:30 a.m. and features several speakers including: the Rev. Henry Steele, Tallahassee Community College President Alfred Law, and Sen. Al Lawson. The FAMU chapter of the NAACP helped coordinate the program. Members of the student chapter urge others to get involved.
“The awareness (of the holiday) is there, but the activism is down, especially among FAMU students,” said Jonathan Quarles, president of the chapter. “A lot of people think it’s a day to relax and rest. It’s a good time to reflect on how far we’ve come,” he said.
The senior class kicked off the King celebration, on his actual birthday, Jan. 15. Their presentation of the “Celebrating the Dream” program began on the steps of Lee Hall and ended around the eternal flame. The students marched around the quad while speakers, including Quarles, recited the “I have a dream” speech.
“There’s nothing really done on campus except convocation,” said Latoya Newell, 21,senior class vice president.
“We wanted to do the march to symbolize King and realize that he’s done a lot for us, not just as African Americans, but as Americans.”
The Apalachee Blues Society is hosting its first Freedom Blues Festival this weekend to celebrate King’s accomplishments.
“We’re honoring Dr. King hopefully with music that he would have enjoyed,” said Michael Rouse, president of the group. The festival will feature blues documentaries, workshops and a presentation of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech by the Rev. R. B. Holmes of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church.
The gates open today at 4 p.m. Tickets are available at the Bradfordville Blues Club, CD Warehouse on Apalachee Parkway, Champions Engraving and Vinyl Fever. For more information, log on to www.freedombluesfest.org or call (850) 668-5863.