Award-winning journalist, author to speak on MLK Day at College

Though it took only 17 minutes for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech, his words to the American people calling for the end of discrimination and insistence on equality for all stands as one of the most influential messages of the 20th century.


On Monday, Marietta College will honor Dr. King’s legacy by hosting a renowned race and gender expert who will address the topic: Is America “Post-Racial? What Would Dr. King Say? Joan Morgan, an award-winning journalist, author and cultural critic will speak during a luncheon in the Great Room in Andrews Hall. This free, one-hour event will begin at noon and is open to students, staff, faculty and the public.


“It’s important for Marietta College to pause and remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his contributions to our nation,” says Dr. Richard Danford, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion. “Dr. King was the epitome of leadership on issues of diversity and inclusion, and by pausing to reflect on his pursuit of social justice, we can be inspired to seek greater inclusion for everyone in our daily lives and work.”


Morgan’s speech addresses various topics, such as the “changing racial and ethnic composition of America” since King’s 1963 speech, what her opinion is on how Dr. King would view today’s changing racial composition and its impact on race relations, and whether or not it is useful to use the terms “black” and “African American” interchangeably.


“The Office for Diversity and Inclusion is very excited about bringing Joan Morgan to Marietta because of the perspective she offers on Dr. King’s legacy in our society today,” Danford says. “Her interesting examination of contemporary culture, especially where gender and race are concerned, will help us understand how we have changed since the 1960s, and she will undoubtedly provide the Marietta College community with plenty to think about and discuss.”


Following the presentation, Danford says the author will stay for a meet-and-greet as well as to sign copies of her book, When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost, which will be available for purchase at the event.


Morgan began her writing career freelancing for The Village Voice and, after writing a gripping article entitled “The Pro-Rape Culture,” was asked to cover the rape trial of former heavyweight boxer, Mike Tyson, for the publication. She was one of the original staff members of Vibe magazine and a contributing editor and columnist for Spin. She also served as executive editor of Essence magazine.


Coincidentally, Morgan is a graduate of Wesleyan University, where incoming Marietta College President, Dr. Joseph Bruno, is currently a Professor of Chemistry. Morgan is presently completing her doctorate as a McCracken Fellow in the American Studies Program at New York University.


Monday’s presentation by Morgan is the first in a series of special events planned by the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.  On Friday, Feb. 3, Marietta College will kick off its celebration of Black History Month by hosting Keith Boykin, who will present a lecture titled Diversity Without Division, as well as a special session for employees titled Issues of Race on College Campuses. Further details for both of these events will be announced at a later date. To celebrate Black History Month, the Charles Sumner Harrison Organization, with the support of the ODI, is sponsoring a special film series that will feature a different movie every Friday evening during the month of February.  The four films are: The Help, Remember the Titans, The Color Purple, and School Daze. This film series is free and open to the campus community and the public. All films will be shown in the Alma McDonough Auditorium, with doors opening at 7 p.m. and films starting at 7:30.


“Students from CSHO will be leading a discussion at the conclusion of each film,” Danford says.