Office of Multicultural Affairs Hosts Week in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr.


Martin Luther King Jr. organized and participated in multiple marches, such as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the Selma-to-Montgomery March. (Courtesy of Unsplash)

The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) hosted a week of events to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Fordham. The events alternated between the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses. The week consisted of four different events, including information tabling and movie nights where the movie “Selma” was shown.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was designated a national holiday on Nov. 2, 1983 after years of work from civil rights activists. The legislation was initially introduced four days after his assassination, but it took 15 years for it to be passed by the federal government. In addition, it took 17 years for it to be recognized in all 50 states.

King was one of the most prominent civil rights activists. He advocated for nonviolent protests against racist laws and worked towards desegregation. He organized and participated in multiple marches, such as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the Selma-to-Montgomery March.

He was also known for his powerful public speaking skills, including his memorable “I Have a Dream” speech.
On April 4, 1968, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. Even after his death, his legacy continues to precede him. In addition to the many accolades received during his life, such as the Nobel Peace prize in 1964, King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and received the Congressional Medal in 1994.

President Tania Tetlow sent out an email to the Fordham community on the holiday to commemorate King and reaffirm that there is still work left to be done.

“On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we remember the state of the world King faced when he became the very young pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and was asked to lead the Montgomery bus boycott. He lived in a nation that trumpeted democracy but did not allow him to vote. He faced a society roiled by violence and knew that standing up with Rosa Parks would probably, someday, get him killed,” wrote Tetlow.

“I came to Fordham because of the opportunity it provides in a world where the game is still rigged. I came because of how much Fordham matters and because we have the power to do so much more, and better yet, to inspire our students to go out and do more.”

Rashain Adams Jr. a graduate intern at OMA, said that celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. at Fordham is important to highlight history that is not always told the way that it should be.

“The civil rights movement ended in 1968, which was only 54 years ago, and is a very recent event in the history of our nation. Our history books have a habit of creating a notion of the civil rights movement being a long time ago, however, most of our grandparents either grew up or were adults during the civil rights movement,” said Adams. “This means that they witnessed the atrocities of segregation and the treatment of peaceful protesters around the nation.”

Adams further explained that OMA’s events are intended to show students how fresh history is.

“We also attempt to show students the history so that they can reflect and notice that there is more work to be done,” said Adams.

Overall, Adams explained that Fordham has a week of Martin Luther King Jr. events because one day is not enough.

“We celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. week because a day is not long enough for us to present the history of the civil rights movement to both campuses in the way that we want to. The university is closed on the actual MLK day, so many universities and organizations celebrate the remainder of the week instead,” said Adams.