On Monday, January 20, Houghton College students, staff and faculty will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., pioneer of the civil rights movement. The events are free, and the public is welcome.
The celebration begins at 10 a.m. with a chapel service in the John and Charles Wesley Chapel on the Houghton College campus featuring Rev. Al Robinson, father of current Houghton sophomore Angelica Robinson and pastor of Spirit of Truth Urban Ministry in Buffalo, N.Y. The Houghton College Gospel Choir will also be performing at the service.
The afternoon event is called “Sankofa Stations of the Civil Rights Movement,” and it includes six 30-minute sessions held in different locations across campus. The sessions repeat every half hour, so participants can choose to go to any and all of the stations. “‘Sankofa’ means to look back in order to move forward—essentially learning from our past and honoring it,” explains Nuk Kongkaw, Director of the Houghton College Mosaic Center and the organizer of the event. “It’s a word with East African roots, but now, it has been adopted by Civil Rights education efforts. Sankofa journeys are also often physical journeys where a group of people travel to key cities of the Civil Right era. We’re offering a mini-version here at Houghton for this year’s MLK Day.” The sessions will cover many topics, including African American music of the Civil Rights era, the history of the Wesleyan Church during the Civil Rights Movement, microaggression and macro concerns in film and media, Robert Kennedy’s impromptu speech on the night of the assassination, and many more. For a full list of sessions and locations, please visit https://www.houghton.edu/event/mlk-day-red-day/.
Following the afternoon events, a soul-food inspired dinner will be served in the dining hall (regular rates apply). “The students involved with the Mosaic Center helped create the entire menu for MLK Day, and they have also volunteered to help prepare some of it,” says Kongkaw. After dinner, the night concludes with jazz performances and a read-in featuring the Sonder Trio from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Van Dyk Lounge.