BBC Offering Community Program to Honor Rev. ML King

Kcollegepres

December 27, 2012

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream.  A Baptist minister, he was a driving force in the push for racial equality in the 1950s and the 1960s.  Following a march and non-violent protest in Birmingham, Alabama, he helped organize an even larger gathering, this one in Washington, DC seeking equal jobs and freedom..

On August 28, 1963 the thousands in attendance marched from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. King shared his now famous ‘dream, speech,’ which is credited with mobilizing supporters of desegregation and prompted the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  The next year, Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

To honor the struggle and celebrate the ‘dream,’ Bronson Battle Creek’s diversity council is hosting an event open to the public on Tuesday, January 15 in the hospital’s Outpatient Center Atrium.  The program titled ‘The Dream is Now’ will feature music, inspirational words, and a special presentation by Dr. Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran, president of Kalamazoo College begins at 5:30 p.m.  There will be social time before and following the program.

For more information, contact Tracy Garland at (269) 245-8026. 

Bronson Battle Creek is a 218-bed hospital that provides full outpatient and inpatient acute care including robotic surgery, diagnostics, and rehabilitation services; 100% all private rooms.  It also offers world-class diagnostic capabilities including PET/CT imaging, freestanding ‘open’ and traditional MRI, CT (16- and 64-slice), and 3.0 Tesla MRI.  Bronson Battle Creek has been recognized nationally as one of the safest hospitals, and has been a leader in the development of electronic health records as evidenced by multiple honors as one of America’s ‘most wired’ and ‘most wireless’ hospitals. The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons recognizes the Bronson Battle Creek Cancer Care Center as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Program, and the only hospital in Michigan to receive the CoC’s Outstanding Achievement Award three times in a row. Specialty services include inpatient behavioral health, the county’s largest accredited sleep center, and a wound-healing center with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.  For nine years, Bronson Healthcare has been included on Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies list as a leading family friendly employer. 

About the Speaker
Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran
President of Kalamazoo College

Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran, the 17th president of Kalamazoo College, began her tenure in July 2005, having formerly served as vice president and dean at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Dr. Wilson-Oyelaran has an extensive background in higher education, which includes teaching and administrative positions at Salem College, Winston-Salem State University, and Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. While in Nigeria, she also served as a consultant for UNICEF in the area of early childhood development. Her primary areas of scholarly interest are child development and multicultural education and she has written extensively in these areas. 

Recognized for her expertise in the area of cultural diversity, she has worked with faculty in higher education and K-12 to improve educational outcomes for women and students from underrepresented groups. Dr. Wilson-Oyelaran is the vice-chair of the President’s Council of the Association of Governing Boards, and chair-elect of the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.  A member of the Pomona College board of trustees, she also serves on the boards of the Council of Independent Colleges, United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, the Bronson Healthcare Group, Southwest Michigan First, and the W. E. Upjohn Institute. 

Dr. Wilson-Oyelaran obtained a B.A. in sociology from Pomona College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in education from the Claremont Graduate University.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Bio

Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was born Michael Luther King, Jr., but later had his name changed to Martin. His grandfather began the family's long tenure as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.  Martin Luther King attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduating from high school at the age of 15; he received the B.A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, a distinguished Negro institution of Atlanta from which both his father and grandfather had graduated. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of a predominantly white senior class, he was awarded the B.D. in 1951. With a fellowship won at Crozer, he enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, completing his residence for the doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955. In Boston he met and married Coretta Scott, a young woman of uncommon intellectual and artistic attainments. Two sons and two daughters were born into the family.

In 1954, Martin Luther King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, King was, by this time, a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation. He was ready, then, early in December 1955, to accept the leadership of the first great Negro nonviolent demonstration of contemporary times in the United States, the bus boycott described by Gunnar Jahn in his presentation speech in honor of the laureate. The boycott lasted 382 days. On December 21, 1956, after the Supreme Court of the United States had declared unconstitutional the laws requiring segregation on buses, Negroes and whites rode the buses as equals. During these days of boycott, Dr. King was arrested, his home was bombed, he was subjected to personal abuse, but at the same time he emerged as a Negro leader of the first rank.

In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement. The ideals for this organization he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, Dr. King traveled over 6 million miles and spoke over 2,500, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile he wrote five books as well as numerous articles. In these years, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience, and inspiring his ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail,’ a manifesto of the Negro revolution; he planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters; he directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his address, ‘I Have a Dream,’ he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson; he was arrested upwards of 20 times and assaulted at least 4 times; he was awarded 5 honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.

At the age of 35, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was assassinated.


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