ECU Observes MLK day
(Jan. 12, 2000)
East Carolina University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance will include a student march and a speech by a former civil rights activist who is leading efforts to promote the contributions of the civil rights movement to high school history and social studies classes.
The march will begin at 6 p.m. Monday at the top of College Hill Drive in front of Belk Residence Hall. From College Hill the marchers will walk to Mendenhall Student Center to attend a program in Hendrix Theater.
The MLK Day speaker will be Leslie Burl McLemore, a political science professor at Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss. Dr. McLemore has published widely in areas of African American politics, environmental politics, southern traditions and the American civil rights movement.
In 1960, while a freshman at Rust College in Mississippi, McLemore was among students who boycotted a segregated movie theater and helped to organize campus voter registration campaigns. Later, he founded the college’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and became an ally to civil rights leaders Medgar Evers and Aaron Henry, a state gubernatorial candidate. He served on the executive committee of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and on the staff of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
McLemore says he considers his experiences with the civil rights movement in Mississippi as a defining moment in his life. He has been involved in local and national struggles ever since.
Recently, he and several of his colleagues formed the Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy to teach about how the civil rights and labor movements have expanded and redefined citizenship and democracy. The organization was formed to help high school teachers learn more about the contributions of the civil rights and labor movements.
ECU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration is sponsored by the MLK Observance Committee, the Ledonia Wright African-American Cultural Center, the Student Union Cultural Awareness Committee and the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. The public is invited to attend.