Claflin News

Remembering MLK with Service

Feb 03, 2014

SATURDAY ACADEMY: Hard at work on special Monday

The Panther

Members of Claflin University’s Saturday Academy spent the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday doing service around the community.

Saturday Academy put together a canned food drive collecting canned foods and non-perishable items to donate to the First Baptist Church later in the week.

Members went to different locations around Orangeburg such as Bi-Lo, Walgreen’s, and Piggly Wiggly, to collect items.

Ryan Black said, “It’s a great experience. It’s nice to see that there are still people who enjoy helping others.”

Black, as well as the other members of Saturday Academy, were up and serving the community from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Torrey Andrews, sophomore, another member said he enjoys doing service on the holiday and that the holiday should be celebrated, “but, I feel that people should look into what he [MLK] did and stood for to understand the importance of the holiday and why we celebrate it.”

Saturday Academy collected over 1,700 cans and non-perishable items on Monday, breaking the record of 1,200 set last year.

Claflin students speak out on what MLK Day means to them


The Panther

For years, many citizens of the United States have honored the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday on the third Monday in January by engaging in community service and helping others.

Generations of people have arrived since the holiday was observed for the first time in 1986. Today, opinions differ about the holiday and the way it should be spent.

Carolyn Harris, Claflin sophomore, acknowledges that MLK Day is the “recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King for his achievement, hard work and dedication toward not only his town, but the entire United States of America.”

She spends the holiday watching televised celebrations and parades.

Ashley E. Mitchell says of the holiday, “It’s important, but I get tired of hearing about MLK sometimes. It’s other black people in society that contribute to civil rights.”

Watching civil rights specials on BET, sleeping and listening to the recording of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech are how she celebrates the holiday.

While there are some people who think the holiday is pointless, Christina Davis, Claflin junior, says, “It’s a day to think about my heritage, how far we’ve come and his journey of activism. I wonder how different the world would be if he were still alive today.”

She too spends the holiday watching movies about MLK.

Joshua Davis, a Detroit native and vocal performance major, believes the holiday should be a day about breaking racial stereotypes that have been developed over the years. He is quoted with “It is a day where we get an opportunity …”

Rachel Troutman, a St. Matthews native and junior elementary education major, believes the holiday is about service and community involvement.  “I look forward to honoring Dr. King by attending events here at Claflin and in the surrounding community.”

Claflin mass communications major Nicholas Jackson will have a special experience for the 2014 holiday.

He will join a group including Panther photographer Kemet Alston visiting Atlanta to witness a King observance during which former MLK associate, U.N. Ambassador and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young will be speaking. Young is Alston’s grandfather.

Jackson said the opportunity to hear about the civil rights movement and King’s role, as well as Young’s, is an opportunity he expects to enjoy.

THE KING HOLIDAY: Panther journalists’ opinions

Journalists are accustomed to interviewing others about their opinions and not offering theirs in news stories. In this instance, read what Panther reporters have to say about the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Princess B. Williams, junior, Ridgeland
Monday, I will spend MLK Day with Claflin University’s Saturday Academy for a day of service participating in a canned food drive.
In the previous years, I’ve celebrated this holiday with my home church in local parades, paying respect, homage and reverence to the civil rights activist.
One of the late Dr. Martin Luther King’s well-known questions was: “What are you doing to help others?”
Unity, peace and helping others is what the civil rights activist stood for. I believe this day should be spent giving back to your community or lending a helping hand in some shape or form, because this is how Dr. King would want his holiday to be celebrated.

Tyran Graham, senior, Dayton, Ohio
There is a lot to observe on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Things such as what kind of man he was and what he did to deserve a day dedicated to him.
In my personal opinion, I believe he had a dream but did not do much to make it a reality. The sad truth is that people don’t even know his real name. I believe that there should be more days dedicated and held in reverence for other activists who had the same dream and did a lot more to make it a reality.
One is Shabazz Little, known to the public as Malcolm X. I believe Malcolm X was an all-around better activist because he knew struggle. Martin Luther King had a dream, but people should study history and step back and understand the truth about this holiday.
Regardless of what I believe, I will still be observing this holiday by participating in a food drive to feed the homeless. They should not have to suffer because of an opinion that I have regarding the man known as Martin Luther king Jr. So I will make it my mission to see that they are fed and I will still observe this holiday with respect.

Eva Freeman, senior, Fayetteville, N.C.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is about celebrating the life of a gentle man who changed the United States for the better.
MLK Day is not just a holiday but a celebration of equality between races and genders. It is a day when we take the time to reflect where we were, and how far we have come as a society through the years.
I plan to spend Martin Luther King Jr. Day performing community service in honor of King’s memory and the passion he had to better the country.

John K. Williams, junior, Baltimore, Md.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the man who stood up for our rights, the man who created new rights, the man who received the Nobel Peace Prize, and the man whose life was taken because of it has importance in our community.
Where I came from, the streets were all that people could have known, but if they took shelter in the books written by historians to see that some of the greats came from the same or worse, they adjusted and created a better standard of living. I hate that some people feel as if the man who assassinated King was right. King was entitled to his opinion and he served as the voice of all who were opposed to the way that things were during that time in history.
I grew up knowing that we weren’t supposed do any type of work on the King holiday, including washing clothes, out of respect for a great man. King knew the Lord, so although that man assassinated him physically, he did him a favor by sending him to his real home with God.
On this King Day, I will be participating in some form of memorial dedicated to him because Dr. King still lives today.

River Washington, senior, Atlanta
When I was younger, MLK Day really meant a day out of school for me. However, as I got older and learned more about him and his family and how hard they fought for him to have this holiday, it made me appreciate of it a lot more.
Not only did he do monumental things to help change civil rights, but after his death, his family verbally fought to have his legacy be remembered for many years to come with a national holiday.
Not only was Martin Luther King known for his soul-stirring speeches, he was known for simple things like being a son, husband and father. Learning about the different hats that King wore makes you grateful that he was able to do such amazing things and change the nation. 
Knowing that my grandparents were treated unfairly as African-Americans puts a lot in perspective for me. Listening to my grandmother tell me about using back doors as a means of entering different places and using outside bathrooms because she was not allowed to use an inside one makes me appreciate of the little things that older people fought for.
Living in Atlanta -- where King was born, raised and educated -- gives me an advantage because I was exposed to his life. I have visited his home a few times and the historic burial site at the King Center has been a destination on a few field trips.
All in all, the life that King lived was purposeful and we are all as a human race lucky to have had him on this earth for the short time we did.
This year the holiday will simply be remembering King for all that he has done for our nation and civil rights. Where this country would be without the non-violent protests of King and his colleagues, I really don’t know.
As African-Americans, we still deal with civil rights on a day-to-day basis, but we can all rest a little easier because of the battle King fought. He did want us all to get along, and one day I believe that will happen.

Claflin Photos