Coker College to Hold Roundtable Discussion on Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, Coker will host an open roundtable discussion on the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., in observance of his birthday (Jan. 18). The event, which begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Davidson Hall Auditorium on Coker’s campus, is free and open to the public.
This is the second of two open discussions about diversity and inclusion that have been held on Coker’s campus this academic year. The first, which was held in October, focused on the national Black Lives Matter movement. In light of recent national news and events, these discussions are part of a larger campus initiative to create a safe space for students, faculty and staff to discuss issues of race and diversity.
Designed in the format of Coker’s signature roundtable discussion-based learning, the event will explore various aspects of King’s life and the lasting impact of his activism. Among the topics discussed will be King's legacy of nonviolent protest, the Civil Rights failures he believed resulted in part from passive resistance and how parts of Black popular culture today have attempted to remember his forcefulness.
Panel members will be Todd Couch, assistant professor of sociology and criminology; Jennifer Heusel, assistant professor of communication and director of the African-American studies concentration; Mal Hyman, associate professor of sociology and Tracy Parkinson, provost. Each panelist will offer individual reflections, after which the floor will be open for questions and general discussion.
Rev. John Foster III, associate professor of religion, will serve as moderator. Foster was appointed last year as the campus director for diversity, interfaith and inclusion education. In this role, he seeks to support existing campus efforts to create a safe, inclusive campus environment. He also collaborates with college leadership to recommend and implement additional programs and services related to campus climate and dialogue.
“When Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968, oppressed people, both black and white, lost their sincerest and most committed voice,” said Foster. “So studying King’s writings, understanding what motivated him and, most of all, considering who are standard-bearers for Americans who have no voice is why students need to study Martin Luther King. Our students will be voices of the oppressed during the 21st century; that is why each year we stop as a nation to commemorate King—so that students in all liberal arts institutions can be change agents in complex world.”
Release written by Director of Institutional Identity Laura Hoxworth.