St. Andrews University joined the nation Monday night, Jan. 15, by celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a campus and community-wide celebration held in a packed Avinger Auditorium.
The program began with instrumental selections on guitar and violin by faculty member and biologist Dr. Tracy Feldman and then a drum processional by St. Andrews pipe band drummer DJ Street.
Following a welcome and remarks from university president Paul Baldasare, the stage was set for a comprehensive and joy-filled presentation of speeches, readings and music.
Notably, the featured speaker for the evening was the Rev. Garland E. Pierce, the NC House District 48 representative for Scotland County, who selected the well-known Luke passage of the Good Samaritan emphasizing “who is my neighbor?” as his theme and comparing it to daily social problems. President Baldasare presented Rev. Pierce with a St. Andrews award in appreciation of his support and service.
St. Andrews students Shaqueena Kemp and Nathaniel Blackwell read selections from Dr. King’s writings.
Music provided another connection to what faculty member Dr. Rona Leach McLeod would later say “what we are about tonight is community” as choirs from Bright Hopewell Baptist Church (Rev. Pierce’s church) and Sandy Grove Baptist Church Hands of Praise sang and involved the audience.
A special dramatic program by actors Mitchell Capel and Sonny Kelly (who also served as the master of ceremonies) featured storytelling, poetry and portrayal of black Union soldiers fighting in the Civil War for their freedom. Their presentation, part of a larger drama called The Color of Courage, included poetry, music and narratives that were both humorous and somber. It provided for those attending a visual and moving account of struggle then and the application to the evening’s focus on celebrating the life and service of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. –30--