Delaware State University and the Inner-city cultural league, Inc. hosted the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday Program. The program was held on Monday, January 20, 2020 in the University’s Education and Humanities Theatre.
The program was filled with inspiring performances by the Sankofa Dance Company, Delaware State University Choir, and Towne Point Elementary School Choir. Special guest, Senator Tom Carper, Senator Christopher Coons, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, Governor John Carney, and Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long, gave encouraging words.
The keynote speaker, the Honorable William L. Chapman, shared a message about the principles Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached.
The program was led by Mr. Michael D. Brown, the artistic director of the Inner-City Cultural League, Inc. The posting of the colors of the United States of America was presented by the Dover Air Force Base color guard. The first performance was from the Sankofa African Dance Company with two dances and live drummers. The next performance was by the Towne Point Elementary School choir singing a song about fellowship and friendship.
Delaware State University President, Dr. Tony Allen, introduced each national and local politician, dignitaries, and special guests. The Sankofa African Dance Company came out and performed another dance as a tribute to Dr. King.. The dance was followed by a performance from the Delaware State University Choir, directed by Dr. Derrick Thompson. Program leader, Mr. Michael D. Brown, introduced William L. Chapman as the keynote speaker for the afternoon.
United States Senator Tom Carper is a politician that transformed the school from Delaware State College to Delaware State University. Senator Carper recited some famous quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. Some of the quotes cited are
“The ultimate measure of a is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
United States Senator Christopher Coons shared a message that we are all in this world together. We live in a world that we have to address histories’ injustices and push for future justice. In this country there is a focus on liberty, but not enough on justice. Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester stressed the importance of voting and filling out the census. The census provides resources and representation for everyone. “Martin Luther King, Jr. laid his life down to give the right to vote so don’t waste it,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. Governor John Carney and Lieutenant Bethany Hall-Long Bethany both spoke shortly about the polarization happening in Washington. Lieutenant Governor expressed that in the end truth will prevail over lies, liberty and justice defeat discrimination and issues of racism, and equal opportunity for everyone no matter the zip code. Governor Carney then spoke about his continued support and participation in the National Holiday Program.
The keynote speaker William L. Chapman, a retired family court judge for Delaware, gave recognition to the first African American female supreme court judge, Tamika R. Montgomery -Reeves, sworn in on December 5, 2019. He talked about the same principles that Dr. Martin Luther King practiced. These were love and nonviolence, the dangerous unselfishness, structural and systemic change, dealing with the system flaws, and establishing justice to promote the general welfare.
With the turmoil in Washington he made it clear that it shouldn’t be “Make America Great Again,” but make America what it ought to be—continuing the thoughts of the founding fathers and influential leaders.
Delaware State University is the home of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday Program. It was established in 1986 as the initial location of the program celebration. Reuben Salters, Founder of the Inner-City Cultural League, former Delaware State University President Dr. Luna I. Mishoe, former Governor Michael N. Castle, and current Delaware State University Board of Trustees members were influential in initiating this program. The celebration continues to flourish as student, staff, administrators, dignitaries, and community members celebrate a great man, in a great way, by great people.