Students honored the memories of Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and other civil rights activists January 21 through Key Arts Productions’ performance of “The Road to Freedom.” The show is part of the University’s Solidarity Initiative’s Wednesday Night in the Commons series, aimed at promoting unity between cultures.
The interactive show exhibited live music and a slideshow of historical African American figures accompanied by narration. Key Arts Productions is a Philadelphia-based touring company traveling primarily to secondary schools and universities, providing educational multimedia programs promoting civil rights, global and environmental awareness, and student activism.
“We thought it was really important for college students to see the sacrifices of other college students back then in the 60s,” President of Key Arts Productions, Joe Patterson said. “It was a really turbulent time but folks went out and fought for civil rights anyway, even though they knew it was pretty dangerous. But that’s the beauty of it all.”
Solidarity Coordinator and DeSales alumnus, Gui Lopes, brought in Key Arts Productions for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day-themed “Wednesday Night in the Commons” edition.
“I think it’s important because it just gives people a different side of things. Its important to realize why we have rights, and how some people didn’t have it as easy as the Caucasian American did,” Lopes said. “And its also fun too, it’s a different experience than in the classroom.”
The program came two days after famous civil rights leader’s federal holiday, when students prepared food and collected toiletries for the homeless population in Bethlehem, Pa. through the university’s Center for Service and Social Justice (CSSJ).
The CSSJ also offered a free trip for students to see the recently released film, Selma, which chronicles the efforts of the 1965 peaceful march from from Selma, Ala. to the capital city of Montgomery to voice dissatisfaction for the denial of basic and natural rights for black Americans. After Selma, which included ruthless scenes of violence, students divided into groups for open discussion about the film and where society stands today in relation to the 1960s.
“It’s always good to remember [King’s] legacy and remind us all that we can go out and make a difference no matter how young or how old,” Patterson said. “Just do some service and promote love and peace. Its good that this time of year we kind of focus on that.”
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