ECU Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Although most known for his quest for racial equality and civil rights in America, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—a tireless champion for education—was also a staunch believer in the power of knowledge. In 1948 at Morehouse College, King said of education, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society....We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”
In celebration of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, January 21, ECU remembered the life and legacy of King through a day of events entitled “Enhancing Education through Past Accomplishments.” Events included a community unity breakfast; a student volunteer challenge in which 142 students contributed more than 420 hours of service to the community; a candlelight vigil and march; and an evening program at Wright Auditorium featuring a keynote speaker Dr. Shirley Carraway, ECU alumna and former superintendent of the Orange County school district.
Carraway’s address recalled King’s strong passion for education and spoke of his dream to improve education in this country for all. “Dr. King dreamt of a system of schooling that allowed all boys and girls to achieve,” she said.
She also explained how King viewed education as the fundamental component to social justice and freedom. She quoted one of his sayings: “Education is the road to equality and citizenship.” And she reminded everyone that there is still work to be done to solve challenges today that didn’t exist 40 years ago—notably the information gap that affects many poorer schools in an age where the access to information and technology often determines the quality of education.
“I think Dr. King would say there have been dramatic improvements over 40 years, but that there is still a ways to go,” Carraway said. “Doors are open, but still too few minorities walk through those doors.”
The evening program also featured music and song inspired by King’s life as well as a short film that poignantly conveyed the realities faced by local African American educators during segregation.