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AU News

Anderson University Celebrates Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 27, 2023
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MLK Celebration Week featured Dr. King’s Niece and focused on serving the surrounding community.

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During MLK Celebration Week at Anderson University, students, faculty and staff celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., gaining inspiration from several noted speakers and volunteering to help others throughout the community.

The week began with a chapel service January 16 where Dr. James Noble, Anderson University’s Vice President for Diversity, Community, and Inclusion, interviewed Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Dr. Alveda King, who is a speaker, evangelist and author, recounted tragedies in her family’s life, most notably the murders of her uncle, father and grandmother. She also urged the audience of students, faculty, staff and others to celebrate their differences rather than be divided by them.

“If we just let social media make up the facts for us and believe it without finding out the truth, we won’t be as strong as we need to be. So it starts with each of us. We can love each other, we can learn to serve and love each other and love God first, and just move forth in our destinies and purposes,” she said.

The Chapel also included music from the Anderson University Gospel Choir and the West African Drum Ensemble, both of the South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University. Students also participated in a student-led question and answer session with Dr. Alveda King January 17 and learned some important facts during the Connect Club’s MLK Trivia Night January 19. 

Anderson University President Evans Whitaker, Ph.D., presented Dr. Alveda King with the inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Presidential Distinguished Service Award, recognizing her meritorious service in civil rights. The award was presented during an awards luncheon January 17 in the G. Ross Anderson Jr. Student Center Banquet Hall.

The January 19 chapel speaker was Rev. Anthony Thompson, whose wife was tragically killed in the 2015 shootings at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Quoting biblical Scripture from Isaiah 53, Rev. Thompson spoke about forgiveness as “a weapon against social evil.” He went on to say that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in exemplifying forgiveness through nonviolence. 

“He understood that the act of forgiveness Jesus performed on the cross is the power Isaiah the prophet was talking about when he said ‘by His stripes we are healed,’” Rev. Thompson said.

Dr. Sherelle Ducksworth, lecturer in the Anderson County College of Christian Studies, was the January 20 chapel speaker. Dr. Ducksworth also spoke about Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s nonviolent approach to seeking racial justice.

“It’s important for us to fix our minds on loving people, not because they’re lovable, not because of who they are… not because they’re conservative, liberal, black, white or hispanic, we love people because God created them and they’re humans. And because they are humans, we are to always seek their welfare, benefit and their flourishing, and we do that because God has commanded us to do that,” Dr. Ducksworth said.

MLK Celebration Week was also about serving others.

Approximately 150 volunteers, composed of staff, faculty and students were divided between several locations in the community. Teams of volunteers helped prepare meals for Hope Missions in the kitchen of Young Memorial ARP, served Anderson’s homeless by helping clean and organize at South Main Chapel and Mercy Center, student-athletes did grounds cleanup at the Morris Street Slave Dwelling Project near downtown Anderson, and students worked at PAWS Animal Shelter and engaged in other volunteer activities. These events were held as part of Dream Day, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service, where Americans step up to make communities more equitable and take action in the spirit of Dr. King’s dream.

Volunteers also served during the week with Meals on Wheels of Anderson, AU service partners. Dr. Noble expressed gratitude for the volunteers coming out for the first time since before the pandemic. 

During the women’s and men’s basketball games, the Trojans wore the branded MLK Celebration Week T-shirts during warm-ups. During half-time of each game, a video was played highlighting events from a past MLK Celebration Week.

For details, contact the Anderson University Office of Diversity, Community and Inclusion by calling 864-231-2165 or email

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