(January 23, 2012)

Centenary celebrates King legacy

SHREVEPORT, LA — Students, faculty, and staff celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the week of January 16. The tribute, designated Dream Week, included community service projects, a lecture, a theater performance, documentary screening, and mentorship training.

Despite the addition of two new service sites, 233 Centenary community members accomplished a number of projects on MLK Service Day on Monday:

  • 116 reading tote bags were personalized for the first and second graders of Stoner Hill Elementary and the Highland Center afterschool program

  • 81 students at Stoner Hill received a biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Student storage cubbies were sanded and primed at the Highland Center

  • 40 classrooms and offices were cleaned and organized

  • 2 murals were painted at Atkins Elementary

"I volunteer because I love to be a part of the community, and I love to give back and participate when I can," said Julianne Smoak, a Centenary senior. "MLK represents courage and empowerment, standing up for what you believe in even though it goes completely contrary to everybody else. This day is a chance for people to break boundaries, and it gives people a box to stand on and a reason to be proud: I can participate, I can help, I can lead people, and I can be more than myself."

On Tuesday, the Whited Room was packed full of students, faculty, and staff for the Dream Week Convocation, "A Conversation with Plessy and Ferguson." Much of the discussion focused on "not Plessy versus Ferguson, but Plessy and Ferguson," throwing out divisiveness in favor of togetherness. Both Keith Plessy and Phoebe Ferguson, descendants of the key individuals involved in the historic 1896 civil rights case, shared their own experiences with racism.

"No matter what people do to you, you always have to keep your intergrity," said Keith Plessy.

That night, Plessy and Ferguson joined the Centenary community for a viewing of Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans at the Robinson Film Center.

A philosophy discussion group met on Wednesday to have a conversation focused on the Plessy v. Ferguson case as well as other civil rights issues.

The Nubian Cultural Center (NCOC) performed January 19. The group performed African-themed dance routines and presented poems related to the themes of civil rights and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dream Week concluded on Saturday in Kilpatrick Auditorium with a mentorship training session. Attendees included Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover, State Representative Patrick Williams, and Centenary Alumna Angie White who shared her story of mentorship.

Centenary's Diversity Committee and the Office of Global Engagement sponsored Dream Week.