The Highlander

Miss Recordia

Samantha Allen, Multimedia Editor

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“I have a dream,” is one of the most recognizable statements to have ever been spoken. Without much effort, people connect that quote directly to the famous civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr. King paved the way for civil rights, and his murder shook the world April 4, 1968.  The impact of his death still left its mark on campus a year later.

In April 1969 College Misericordia’s Sociology Club held its first ever Black Weekend, which included plays, seminars, lectures, and films to bring awareness of King and the struggle for civil rights. The bottom of the event pamphlet  read, “RESIST THE URGE TO IGNORE YOUR BROTHER, ATTEND BLACK WEEKEND.”

There were multiple events for students to attend each day of the week. The first event was a film “Lay Down My Burden,” which focused on farmers and  sharecroppers in the south who were forced to move out of their homes. This film highlights the time period, which was the beginning of the Black Power Movement. There was also another film presented that day called “Free at Last.” 

The Lincoln University Chorale, directed by Orrin Clayton Suthern, performed that week. Lincoln University,  the first black university to grant degrees. got its start in 1854 and it is still a college today.

Students also took part in many seminars, including  one about Black Separatism, which is a political movement that seeks separate economic and cultural development for those of African descent in societies, particularly in the United States. Other seminars addressed black humanism, black students, black studies,  white racism and the church and racism.  There was a lecture presented by Reverend Paul M. Washington, who came up from Philadelphia.

The Cheney Players from Cheney State College performed “Amen Corners,” by James Baldwin. The last event  was a lecture by Dr. Nathan Wright Jr. who was the executive director of the Department of Urban Work of the Episcopal Diocese in Newark, New Jersey.

The speakers who drew the most attention were Reverend Washington and Dr. Wright, who spoke about black liberation.  Rev. Washington was dedicated to ensuring men recognized their humanity, and Dr. Wright was the author of many books, including the famous  “Black Power and Urban Unrest.”

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