Tickets on Sale for Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner

Photo of Martin Luther King III

Martin Luther King III will be speaking at a celebration dinner which begins a new tradition at Southeast.  The theme for the dinner is “Experience the Next Generation, Experience a New Tradition.”

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 11, 2006ᾰTickets are on sale for Southeast Missouri State University’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner Jan. 24 in the Show Me Center in which King’s son will be featured as the keynote speaker.

Martin Luther King III, the elder son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will be speaking at the celebration dinner which begins a new tradition at Southeast. University officials say they are planning this year’s keynote King event a week after the national King holiday so Southeast students will be able to participate.

For many years, Southeast held a breakfast on the King holiday, which typically falls prior to the beginning of the spring semester. University officials say Southeast students generally did not attend in the past, since most were still away from campus for the holiday break.

With this year’s event scheduled for Jan. 24, Southeast students will have returned for the new semester and will now have an opportunity to attend, officials said.

The theme for the dinner is “Experience the Next Generation, Experience a New Tradition.” Neal Boyd, a Sikeston, Mo., native and graduate of Southeast who is an accomplished tenor, also will be performing at the dinner.

Doors will open for the event at 5 p.m.  The program begins at 6 p.m.  Admission is $15 for the dinner.  Tickets will not be sold at the door, but are available to the public through Jan. 23 at Southeast Bookstore.  Southeast commuter students may obtain a free ticket to the dinner at the Southeast Bookstore, compliments of the Student Activities Council and the Office of the President. Students who live on campus and have a meal plan may obtain a free ticket to the dinner by going to the Chartwells office on the second floor of the University Center. For more information regarding tickets, contact Kendra Skinner at (573) 651-2274.

King, the guest speaker, is a human rights advocate, a community activist and a political leader.  Since early childhood, King has motivated audiences around the world with his poignant messages of hope and responsibility, and has taken the torch lit by his father to continue the quest for equality and justice for all people.

King’s most popular message is “The Dream Deferred,” an examination of the goals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in today’s society.  His vision of a positive future, built upon the principles taught by his father, has touched thousands from Mozambique to Mississippi.

King has been actively involved in significant policy initiatives to maintain the fair and equitable treatment of citizens at home and abroad.  In the 1980s, he turned his attention and his action to the injustices of South Africa and the freedom of Nelson Mandela. 

In 1986, King was elected to political office as an at-large representative of more than 700,000 residents of Fulton County in Georgia. His tenure on the board of commissioners was marked by legislation regulating minority business participation in public contracting, strong ethics, purification of the country’s natural water resources, and stringent hazardous waste disposal requirements.

In the 1990s, he addressed the moral and political dilemma of Third-World nations such as Haiti and Nigeria.  On Nov. 2, 1997, King was unanimously voted the fourth president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the organization which his father co-founded in 1957, and has devoted much of his adulthood to the continuance of his father’s mission of nonviolent conflict resolution through the many programs of the SCLC.

Born in Montgomery, Ala., King is the second oldest of the four children of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.  He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Morehouse College, in Atlanta, Ga.  King was nurtured among individuals deeply committed to the struggle for human rights and a nonviolent society.  He has assimilated and used those values in his personal and public life.

Boyd is an accomplished tenor nationally known for his many solo concerts, operatic and theatre performances.  He has received numerous vocal awards, including winner of the 2000 National Collegiate Artist Voice Competition of the Music Teachers National Association.  Boyd also has performed at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York as well as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. 

In 2001, Boyd received his bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Missouri-Columbia while simultaneously receiving his bachelor’s degree in speech communications from Southeast.  He is best known for his performances throughout Missouri and was honored to sing at the memorial service for the late Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan.

For more information on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner and Southeast’s Black History Month activities, visit www.semo.edu/mlk.