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FMU plans MLK celebration

 FLORENCE - A program to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, “MLK Y2K: Keep the Dream Alive; Open Doors, Open Minds,” will be presented Monday, Jan. 17, beginning at  11 a.m. on the Francis Marion University campus.

 The day of festivities begins at  11 a.m. with the dedication of the Allard A. Allston Housing Office Complex.  At 5:30 p.m., a candlelight march will begin at the Stokes Administration Building. At 6:30 p.m., the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration program will begin in the Cauthen Educational Media Center Lecture Hall, Room 114, with guest speaker Horace Boyer, professor of music, emeritus, from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

 Also performing during the celebration will be the FMU Young, Gifted and Black Chorus.  Following the program, a reception will be held in the CEMC lobby,  sponsored by the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.  All events are free and open to the public.

 FMU will celebrate the life of Allard Albert Allston of Darlington, a long-time member of its Board of Trustees, by naming the university housing complex in his memory. The FMU Board of Trustees voted at itsOctober meeting to name the student housing complex in his memory.  Allston died May 20, 1999. 

 He was named trustee emeritus when his term ended in 1998.  Gov. Robert E. McNair first appointed him to the State College Board of Trustees in 1969, and he continued his service when a separate board was created for FMU in 1988.  He also served on the FMU Foundation Board.

 Born Aug. 7, 1917, in Georgetown, he graduated as the class valedictorian from South Carolina State University in 1937 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture.  He was former chairman of that  university’s Board of Visitors, a member of the S.C. State College Foundation and chairman of the Budget Committee of thecollege’s Board of Trustees. 

 Active in the Darlington community, he served in leadership positions through the years with the Red Cross, the United Fund, was a member of the Darlington County Board for Tax Appeals, served as a trustee for Darlington Coleman-Airmar Hospital and as a member of the Advisory Committee to the Darlington County Board of Education. He was a member of the NAACP, the S.C. Council on Human Relations and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.  Allston was married to Louise Wells Allston, and they have three children.

 Boyer, a retired music professor, will present a history of music, focusing on the role it played and continues to play, in the African-American experience.  A native of Winter Park, Fla., Boyer received a B.A. degree in music from Bethune-Cookman College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester.  The University of Massachusetts named him a Chancellor’s Distinguished University Lecturer in 1990 in recognition of his teaching and contributions to music.

 Before teaching at Amherst, he taught music at Albany State College and at the University of Central Florida.  His area of expertise at Amherst is music theory and African-American music.  In addition to his performing activities, he researches African-American vocal music, particularly gospel, and has published many articles in professional journals on that subject.  One of the highlights of his career was his selection as curator of musical instruments at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution (1985-87).  During his residency at the Smithsonian, he also served as the United Negro College Fund Distinguished Scholar-at Large, during which his duties included directing the famed Fisk Jubilee Singers.

  Michael Luther King Jr., later renamed Martin, was born to schoolteacher Alberta King and Baptist minister Michael Luther King on January 15, 1929. He graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga. (1948) and from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pa. (1951). After coursework at New England colleges, King completed his Ph.D. in systematic theology in 1955.  On June 18, 1953, King married Coretta Scott, and the couple had four children.

  King moved to Montgomery, Ala., in September 1954 to preach at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. There, he was named first president of the newly formed Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1958, King published his first book, Stride Toward Freedom, his recollections of the Montgomery bus boycott. King had a lifelong admiration for Mohandas K. Gandhi and visited India in 1959. He credited Gandhi's passive resistance techniques for his civil-rights successes. 

  In 1960, King moved to Atlanta to pastor his father's church, Ebenezer Baptist Church. In the following two years, King met with President John F. Kennedy to urge support for civil rights and led protests inBirmingham for desegregated department store facilities and fair hiring. He was arrested after demonstrating in defiance of a court order, and wrote "Letter From Birmingham Jail," an eloquent letter, later widely circulated, which became a classic of the civil-rights movement.

  On August 28, 1963, 250,000 civil-rights supporters attended the March on Washington where King delivered the famous "I have a dream" speech from the Lincoln Memorial.  King's book, “Why We Can't Wait,” was published in1964. Also during that year, he visited with West Berlin Mayor Willy Brant and Pope Paul VI. On December 10, 1964, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  He was assassinated April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn.


Last Published: June 8, 2004 12:25 PM
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