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The Personal Impact of Martin Luther King Across Rose-Hulman
January 13, 2012
In addition to a week of
institutional events celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King's
life and work, diverse smaller celebrations will come alive across
the corners and classrooms of Rose-Hulman on Martin Luther King
Day. For example, the Humanities Department will continue its
tradition of running the "I Have a Dream" speech in a continuous
loop on their lobby media screen for passersby to see.
Some professors will be celebrating Dr. King in their classes.
"Every year on Martin Luther King Day," says
literature professor Dr. Caroline Carvill, "I take 20
minutes to show the Martin Luther King 'I have a Dream' speech in
"I'm a great admirer of his courage and his dedication to
non-violent resistance," Carvill adds, "which is, in my mind, one
of the most difficult paths to go down -- to go into a dangerous
situation determined not to fight back -- and it worked."
On Monday at 4:30 p.m., Carvill will also be
showing an episode of the acclaimed PBS series on the Civil
Rights movement, Eyes on the Prize, and she will
lead a discussion after the film.
|Dr. Martin Luther King's
1963 "I Have a Dream" speech
Celebrating Martin Luther King Day can be as diverse as the
people his dreams have inspired. When mathematics professor Dr.
Diane Evans considers the civil rights Dr. King fought for, she
thinks of a world that welcomes those who are openly gay. "My dream
would be for people to not judge me for being created differently
than them. Please trust that I'm only being true to
Many other activities around campus are fueled by individuals
with a debt of personal gratitude.
"I think that I would not be where I am today if not for the
work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.," says Dr. Carlotta Berry, the
teaching dynamo behind Rose-Hulman's exceptional robotics minor
"Dr. King has had an enormous impact on me, personally and
professionally," says English Professor Dr. Corey Taylor, who has
spent considerable time studying King's writings and biography. "I
teach some of his speeches in my African American Literature
course, and occasionally his famous 'Letter from Birmingham Jail,'
one of the finest pieces of expository writing by an American, or
anyone else for that matter... in addition to his heroic stature he
was an incredible thinker, a man of action, and yet was very
For Carvill the story of the Little Rock Nine has personal
significance. Central High School, where nine African-American
students made their 1957 stand against segregation, happens to be
the school Carvill graduated from herself.
"When the Little Rock Nine walked into Central, they
changed history but they also changed my life," said Carvill. "I
know that those 9 children -- because that's what they were,
children -- changed my life irrevocably and for the better, and I'm
very grateful to them for that. And students don't know what
happened at Central High."
In his "I Have a Dream" speech, Dr. King famously said, "I have
a dream that one day my four little children will not be judged by
the color of their skin but by the content of their character." And
Dr. Berry believes she is the recipient of this dream come true.
|Dr. Carlotta Berry has helped students sit at the
the Robotics industry by providing early experience
"His dream has given me a seat at the table," Berry says.
"The dream allowed me to obtain 4 degrees and become a professor at
one of the top undergraduate engineering institutions in the
Berry has diversity dreams of her own. "I look forward to
the day when I don't hear people ask questions such as 'why do we
need diversity?' In fact, I live the answer every day, just by
coming to work to interact with people who are not like me. I learn
from them, teach them, value them and I know that I am a better
person because of it."
Pointing out that Dr. King's dream is still working its way
through the system, Berry mentions that there are still fewer than
200 female African-American professors in the United States. "If
you count full professors it is probably less than 20... I am
looking for the day when people are no longer surprised to find out
that I am an engineer, a doctor, or a professor."
On two "dream walls," set up in Moench Hall and Hulman Union,
students, faculty, and staff have been invited to capture this
moment in the progress of Martin Luther King's work by contributing
their dreams for diversity. Some dreams will be simple and
heartfelt, others will make you stop and think.
"My dream would be for all adults in this world to see through
the eyes of children," says Office of Student Affairs Graduate
Assistant Kate E. Pippins. "Children are the true 'diversitarians'
in this world. It is only by the influence of adults in their
lives that children's eyes change such that they begin to view
people by minor details, rather than by the beauty of the bigger
See full event schedule for details.