Parades, programs and presentations: Citadel finds new ways to celebrate MLK Day despite pandemic

Citadel Cadet float in MLK Day Parade, Charleston, SC Jan 21 2019

Photo: Citadel cadets participating in a previous Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade

Citadel to celebrate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. January 18-19

It may be the first Martin Luther King Jr. Day to be held in the COVID-19 environment, but that won’t stop communities across the country — including The Citadel — from honoring the life and legacy of one of the nation’s greatest leaders.

On Monday and Tuesday, Citadel cadets, students, faculty and staff will find new and socially distant ways to celebrate and share King’s legacy.

An (un)traditional parade

On Monday, for the 49th year, the City of Charleston will be hosting a parade to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

However — this is the first year that the parade will be held virtually, in order to help maintain social distancing and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The virtual parade will be broadcast live at 12 p.m. on WCBD-TV Count on 2 News.

One thing that won’t change is The Citadel Gospel Choir‘s participation in the event. The group pre-recorded a few of their songs, with the intent of using the video in place of a live performance.

The Gospel Choir is not the end of The Citadel community’s involvement with the City’s celebrations; Anita Zucker, namesake of the college’s Zucker Family School of Education, will serve as the keynote speaker for the MLK Summit on Tuesday, Jan 19, at 7:30 a.m.

Learn more about The Citadel’s neighbor, Denmark Vesey’s Garden

Before a monument honoring him was erected in Hampton Park, near The eastern border of The Citadel campus, Denmark Vesey was a formerly enslaved person accused of planning a major slave revolt in Charleston.

Now — 199 years after his execution — two members of The Citadel community will interview the authors of Denmark Vesey’s Garden: Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of the Confederacy, written by Ethan Kytle, Ph.D., and Blain Roberts, Ph.D, both history professors at California State University, Fresno.

The authors will speak with J. Goosy Smith, Ph.D., and John Ray Roberts from the Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics. The interview will be livestreamed at Daniel Library on Monday, Jan. 18 at 1 p.m., and also be available to watch at this link.

At 2:30 p.m., following the livestreamed interview, The Citadel’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center (TRHT) will facilitate a CitListen dialogue session for those who watched the interview. The CitListen session will focus on the interview’s implications for principled leaders seeing to promote equity and inclusion.

Participants can join the session at this link.

National Day of Racial Healing CitListen session

The following day, from 12 – 1:30 p.m., TRHT will hold A Charleston Metro City-wide virtual CitListen session on the fifth annual National Day of Racial Healing.

The session will be a Racial Healing Circle, which brings together a diverse group of people in a safe and respectful environment. Anyone is welcome to join this CitListen — however, being on web camera will be required for participants.

This session is in collaboration with the Sophia Institute’s Social Justice and Racial Equity Collaborative. The Sophia Institute’s website says the group’s mission is to inspire action by advancing bold strategies that promote personal, structural and systematic change in social justice and racial equity.

To participate in Tuesday’s CitListen session, click here.

Black History Intercollegiate Consortium honors Citadel professor

Also on Tuesday, the Black History Intercollegiate Consortium will host its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. program virtually at 6:30 p.m.

The Citadel’s award recipient this year is the college’s Chief Diversity Officer, Shawn Edwards.

“Dr. Edwards has done an outstanding job as our Diversity Officer and has certainly embraced the principles and ideals of Dr. King in her work on campus and in the community,” said Robert Pickering Jr., ’94, director of The Citadel’s Multicultural and International Student Services.

The Consortium was established 30 years ago and the members include Charleston Southern University, The College of Charleston, The Medical University of SC, The Citadel, and Trident Technical College.  The mission of the organization is to collaborate efforts and encourage the study and celebration of African American History.  The joint MLK program is one of the consortium’s most successful programs.

To virtually join the Consortium as it recognizes Edwards and other 2021 award recipients, click here.