Former NC Chief Justice will highlight Davidson College’s King Day events

Davidson College invites the public to attend a full day of activities on Monday, Jan. 18, in celebration of Martin Luther King Day. Featured guest for the event will be former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Henry Frye.
Frye holds a long list of “firsts” in the state. In 1968 he became the first African-American to serve in the N.C. House of Representatives in the twentieth century. He served there a dozen years, and then was a state Senator for two years. In 1983 he was appointed by Governor Jim Hunt as the first African-American to serve on the N.C. Supreme Court. In 1999 Gov. Hunt appointed him as Chief Justice — another first. Frye served in that post for two years, and currently practices law in Greensboro.

Chief Justice Frye will present the keynote speech at a Community Convocation from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the Alvarez College Union Smith 900 Room. An hour-long community reception featuring performances from Davidson’s a cappella groups will follow.

There is no cost to participate in any of the day’s events, which focus on the theme, “Realizing the Dream.” They begin at 9:30 a.m. with a “Walk for Change” beginning and ending on the front steps of Chambers Building. The walk will conclude with a reading of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
From 9:30-11:30 a.m. in the Alvarez College Union Smith 900 Room student volunteers will a host “King Day for Kids” program for children age kindergarten through fifth grade. Activities will focus on literacy, social justice, and community involvement, with children participating in small group readings, storytelling, and bookmaking. All participants will receive literacy-based goody bags. Parents interested in enrolling children in the program should RSVP by calling 704-894-2872.

The afternoon will feature three seminars in the Alvarez College Union that concern race and justice.

There will be two concurrent seminars from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. In Room 312 Assistant Professor of Education Hilton Kelly will lead a film and discussion titled “Like Being Untied and Tickled at the Same Time: Remembering Legally Segregated Schools for Blacks.” The presentation will consider the legacy of legally segregated schools for blacks and suggests new ways of thinking about today’s resegregated schools.

In Room 302, 1995 Davidson graduate and journalist Issac J. Bailey will lead a session titled “Why I Don’t Eat Watermelon in Front of White People Even in a Post-Racial World.” The title is drawn from a book published by Bailey in 2009 concerning contemporary race relations. Bailey writes feature stories and a regular column for the Myrtle Beach Sun-News, and has won many awards for outstanding journalism from the South Carolina Press Association.

The final seminar of the day will be held from 3 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. in the Smith 900 Room. Three current Davidson students – Jesse Johnson, Darrell Scott and Justin Hua, along with Diversity Program Advisor Cristina Garcia, will lead a session titled “Check All that Apply: Examining the Complexities of Racial Identity as Forced by Societal Labeling.” The discussion will focus on the terms society has chosen for labeling individuals based on ethnicity and race. College applications, employment applications, the Census and medical forms have long included identification by race, but some are changing. Participants will be asked talk about how changes are influencing societal interpretations of ethnicity and race.

The day’s events will conclude in celebration with a Gospel Extravaganza beginning at 7 p.m. in Duke Family Performance Hall. Individuals and groups currently scheduled to perform are the Davidson College Gospel Choir, Fresh Anointing of Wingate, N.C., Rae Ellis of Charlotte, and Kabra Benford and Psalms 100 of Columbia, S.C. There will be a special guest appearance by Ivan Powell and Garment of Praise of Raleigh.

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