UD Dedicates Martin Luther King Memorial
On a snowy night at the University of Dayton Fieldhouse in 1964, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke to a crowd of more than 6,200 on race relations in America, housing, his commitment to nonviolence and the power of unconditional love.
The Fieldhouse is gone, replaced by Frericks Center. But on Friday, on a snowy afternoon, UD commemorated the speech with a permanent memorial near its site and near the school’s famed Immaculate Conception Chapel.
“It’s important for the University to have a visible memorial to the legacy of Dr. King and his historic speech on campus,” said UD President Daniel J. Curran. “This memorial will remind future generations of the University of Dayton community of Dr. King’s message and his legacy.”
Curran’s office and the office of Interim Provost Paul Benson sponsored the project initiated by art history professor Roger Crum, Graul Chair in Arts and Languages. Crum worked with Marianist brother and associate professor of art M. Gary Marcinowski on the concept and design. John Clarke, associate professor of art and design, designed the typography for the inscriptions.
The trio’s design honors King’s religious and ministerial roots. It features a black granite pulpit and bench with three bronze chairs.
The pulpit is the central feature of religious practice in King’s Baptist tradition, which was at the core of the Civil Rights movement, according to Crum. One chair represents King, the remaining two represent the community putting King’s message into action. The bench is intended to encourage reflection, especially for small gatherings and classes that might draw inspiration from King’s work.
“The memorial commemorates King’s visit to campus in 1964 and the daily work of the civil rights movement, but it also establishes an interesting dialogue with and a recollection of the collaboration between socially conscious Marianists and local and national civil rights leaders,” Crum said. “My hope is that when students consider the memorial they will come away with a deeper appreciation that King’s biography and the narrative of the civil rights movement were about more than key moments, such as the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech or the Selma to Montgomery march, or the garbage workers’ strike in Memphis.
“Instead, the memorial’s meaning is that the movement was more fundamentally about the daily work of communicating a developing message, much like King did when he spoke on campus in 1964.”
In December 2014, UD commemorated King’s speech by reflecting on race relations and social justice issues in America. Professor Emeritus Herbert Martin read excerpts of the speech transcribed from the only known audio recording, discovered in 2009 by filmmaker David Schock, who found it in a box in Martin’s garage while working on a documentary about him. Schock returned the tape to Martin, who donated it to the University.
Click here to listen to the complete speech or selected excerpts, Click here for more about Herbert Martin and the historic tape found in his garage. Click here for more about “Jump Back Honey,” the documentary about poet and retired UD professor Herbert Martin.
Photos by Larry Burgess, courtesy the University of Dayton,
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