Alum offers ‘Perspective’ on Martin Luther King Jr. holiday

Reginald Sims ’75 admitted Monday there was plenty about the Civil Rights Movement he didn’t know about as undergrad at Marietta College in 1970s.

Since then he has learned a lot and he shared some of what he has learned over the years with about 40 students, faculty and staff during a special Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration in the Great Room of Andrews Hall.

Sims told how there was more to the Civil Rights Movement than just King. He spent about 45 minutes Monday talking about the black women of the movement. He talked about Dorothy Height (President of the National Council of Negro Women), Mary McLeod Bethune (educator and adviser to presidents), Ida B. Wells-Barnett (teacher and journalist), Mary Church Terrell (educator and activist), and Rosa Parks (Montgomery Bus Boycott).

“Part of honoring Dr. King on this day is remembering all of the people who played a part in the Civil Rights Movement,” Sims said. “Today I want to talk about the black women and what they meant to the movement.”

Marietta College’s Office of Multicultural Affairs sponsored Sims’ presentation, which was entitled “Some Perspectives on the King Holiday.”

Sims was a member of the African American Committee for Homecoming 2004. While at Marietta in the early 1970s, Sims was a student representative on the Board of Trustees. He graduated from the Hofstra University School of Law in 1978 and currently works in the Juvenile Division of Essex (N.J.) County Prosecutor’s Office.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs is also sponsoring “Shattered Dreams: What Would Dr. King Say Today?” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20. T. Leon Williams will perform the program, which is free and open to the public, in the McDonough Auditorium.

Williams is the Director of Intercultural Programs at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He has been speaking to audiences about diversity and race issues for several years, and has written numerous plays, short stories, and other programs on related topics. Williams received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ohio Northern University and a master’s degree in education from the University of Dayton.

Dr. King spoke at Marietta College on March 2, 1967, as part of the Thomas Lecture Series. A little more than a year later King was fatally shot on April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. On Nov. 2, 1986, President Ronald Regan officially made the third Monday in January a national holiday to commemorate the birth of King.