Apr 22, 2021
Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks at College of the Ozarks Convocation
POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — College of the Ozarks hosted the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Alveda C. King, at a cultural convocation on Thursday, April 8. King is an activist, author, and former state representative.
“The life and the convictions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., positively impacted our nation and the world, and we want our students to learn about him. We can think of no one more qualified to teach all of us than Dr. Alveda King,” said Dr. Jerry C. Davis, president of College of the Ozarks.
King reflected on the injustice her family faced during the Civil Rights Movement and the truth her uncle spoke: “I believe my uncle spoke very truly when he said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ When you value the human person, you won’t kill anyone.”
When asked what actions young people can take to work toward the restoration of race relations in the United States, King paraphrased Acts 17:26: “[God] made of one blood all nations...”
“There is one race, the human race,” King said. “If we can see each other as human beings, and not judge each other by skin color and ethnicity, then we can begin to have genuine, sincere conversations.”
Grace Creer, junior nursing major at College of the Ozarks, took away an important truth from King’s message: “To hear biblical truth is such a good reminder in a culture that is always trying to divide us and magnify our differences. Our differences are special, but they don’t have to divide us. We should appreciate our differences and use them to be unified and work towards a common goal.”
Prior to this convocation, students had the opportunity to take two Big Questions courses, The Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Life, Christian Faith, and Work. Big Questions courses encourage students to discuss and ponder issues that impact their generation.
“Both of these courses helped students reflect on the distinct challenges African Americans have had as they’ve sought equality following the abolition of slavery,” said Dr. Andrew Bolger, director of The Keeter Center for Character Education.
These classes provided context around Dr. King’s work and ministry as well as the broader experience of African Americans after the Civil War.
Bolger shared his wish for students: “I hope students grapple with the historical context of race in America, develop a vocabulary for discussing the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King’s life, and consider ways in which they can affect positive change in their communities and our nation.”
Additional Civil Rights Classes
Dr. David Dalton, professor of history at College of the Ozarks, specialized in Southern history in graduate school and has taught a class on this subject at C of O for over three decades. He strongly believes in the importance of educating students about the struggles faced by African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement to the present. Dalton offers a Civil Rights Movement class every two years, which includes a field trip to prominent locations.
In typical years, students visit places such as Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, one of the first schools to desegregate in 1957, and the Lorraine Motel, part of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated.
In reference to his Civil Rights Movement class, Dalton said, “Given the political and cultural divisiveness in which we live, it is my fervent hope that the class can provide historical context and a factual basis for understanding the pivotal role that race has played and continues to play in American society.”
More about Alveda King
Daughter of the late civil rights activist Reverend A.D. King and his wife, Naomi Barber King, Alveda grew up in the Civil Rights Movement led by her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her home in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed while she and her family were inside during these years, and she was jailed during the open housing movement.
King earned an undergraduate degree in journalism and sociology and a Master of Arts degree in business management. She also received an honorary doctorate from Saint Anslem College. She went on to serve as a college professor and in the Georgia State House of Representatives. King continues her work as a civil rights activist to advocate on behalf of the pro-life movement. Currently, she serves as a pastoral associate with Priests for Life and Civil Rights for the Unborn.