The 29th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation, held in the Jake Gaither gymnasium Friday, gathered students, teachers and alumni in celebration of the legendary leader and activist.
“I didn’t come to dilly dally, I came to tell it like it is,” said David H. Jackson Jr., the history department professor chair.
Throughout the convocation, students listened to Jackson, the keynote speaker, deliver an inspiring and impacting speech that touched on the state of the black community and the knowledge of black history.
“Today our black people need to know where we have come from. We need to know and act upon our knowledge like Martin Luther King did,” Jackson said.
Jackson reminded people of what the civil rights leader was devoted to in his life: “Most of us look at King as a dreamer instead of a man. King gave his life so that we could have all of the liberties that we have today.”
He went on to say most of the things he thought King would say to us today. He said that King would be upset to see that this unfortunate situation has become so common.
Jackson added that King would ask Florida A& M University students, “What are you standing up for, and what is your position on the issues in the world?”
The speaker said as college students, we have an obligation to know who we are.
“History is much more than just studying your past. History tells us where we must go and what we still must do. History will repeat itself until you do something to change it.”
Jackson asked the students to ask themselves what they are doing to make themselves better. “If we don’t look out for each other, nobody else will look out for us.”
Throughout his speech, Jackson continued to encourage students to do better.
While delivering a mix of historical authors and statistics that displayed the difference between the white America and black America, Jackson stressed the need for black history and black support. “How can you cry for others and not have tears for yourself,” Jackson said.
In making references to the injustices in America, from the war in Iraq to increases in college tuition, Jackson spoke of the need for blacks to move.
He added that people should “never forget how being poor in this country can cost you your life,” and that knowing the truth will set you free.
After closing remarks by Jackson, Interim President Castell V. Bryant presented a special award to Rebecca Walker Steele, a successful choral music director and former president of the Florida State Music Association of Higher Education.
While many students supported this year’s convocation, SGA Vice President Phillip Agnew insisted that more student support would have pleased him.
“I think we should continue to get more student involvement because many students saw today as a break from school and that’s not good,” said Agnew, 20, a junior business administration student from Chicago.
Monique Gillum, 19, a sophomore political science student thought that convocation was good and agreed with Agnew in that the lack of students was hard to grasp.
“I wish more students were here to see what was going on. I felt something today that was special and I know others did too,” Gillum said.
Contact Nefertiti Williams and Christina Hordge at firstname.lastname@example.org