Living the Dream

KSU professor Keith Smith stands alongside the bronze bust he created of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Campus celebrates annual MLK observance

KENNESAW‚ Ga. (Jan. 19, 2016) — Kennesaw State University unveiled a bust of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as part of its annual MLK observance hosted by the African-American Student Alliance.

The bronze bust of the civil rights leader was commissioned by the AASA and created by Keith Smith, associate professor of art at Kennesaw State. The bust was displayed at the Bailey Performance Center during the MLK program prior to being moved to its permanent location outside the English Building.

“I think it means a lot for our campus, just in terms of acknowledging Dr. Martin Luther King,” Smith said. “This is the only bust we have, and it’s of Dr. Martin Luther King. That’s huge. That’s making a really big statement.”

Bold statements also came from the guest speaker Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, a social commentator, author and Distinguished Professor of African-American Studies at Morehouse College. Hill told the audience that, if Dr. Martin Luther King were alive today, he “would challenge us to not stop and celebrate where we are, but to dream a dream much larger than the one we have engaged in over the last 50 years.”

“The biggest problem with the world today is that there are too many people who don’t do anything,” Hill said. “Dr. King’s legacy is about brave action. We have to be willing to be courageous.”

Hill explained that “we don’t all have to be Dr. King to do that.” While King was a leader in the civil rights movement, Hill said, “thousands of people” were behind him contributing in some way.

“It’s not about being in front,” Hill said. “Don’t worry about your title so much. Worry about the work you’re doing.”

The MLK celebration also included performances of inspirational songs by the KSU Gospel Choir. The program resonated with Kennesaw State students in attendance.

“It’s important because it’s celebrating equality and the progression that we’re going in,” said sophomore Alexis Williams. “(Dr. King’s) morals and his beliefs and what his speeches and lessons were always about was equality and loving one another, so I think everything he talked about is still relevant today.”

“If we don’t keep the legacy alive, then what will we teach our children in the future?” said Jaiva Crawford, the president of KSU’s African-American Student Alliance. “I feel like every year (the MLK observance) brings our people closer together – ‘our people’ meaning America and the world as a unit – closer together one day and one step at a time.”

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– Story by Paul Floeckher

– Photos by Anthony Stalcup