Anderson University will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by connecting with a city-wide celebration and hosting Rev. Lawrence Haygood from Tuskegee, Ala., whose many accomplishments include participating in civil rights programs with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Anderson city-wide celebration will take place on Monday, January 17, at the Paramount Theatre at 12 noon. The event, entitled “Let Freedom Ring Through Unity,” will feature Rev. Louis Jackson as the choir director from United Church in Christ in Anderson. The AU campus will welcome Rev. Obadiah Smith, the Coordinator of Compassionate Ministries and Homeland Missions Liaison for Church of God Ministries, as the guest speaker during chapel/convocation on Tuesday, January 18, at 10 a.m. Both events are free and open to the public.
During AU’s chapel/convocation in Reardon Auditorium on Tuesday, students will see a re-creation of the march on Washington D.C. where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963. Talk back sessions will be held directly following chapel, which will feature video clips and discussion entitled, “In His Own Words.” The sessions will be held in the Olt Student Center, Edwards dining room, at 11 a.m. and 12 noon.
Rev. Obadiah Smith is a Chaplain in the Unites States Air Force Reserves as a Captain. He is an elder at Sherman Street Church of God in Anderson, Ind. He and his wife have two children. He earned a Bachelor’s in Sociology from Azusa Pacific University in 1981, a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1988, and a Master of Business Administration from the Falls School of Business in 2004.
Rev. Haygood graduated cum laude from Stillman College in 1955 with a degree in English and was the first African-American to be taught at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va., where he graduated with a Masters in Divinity. He served as a pastor with congregations in Norfolk, Va., Memphis, Tenn. and Tuskegee, Ala. While in Memphis, Tenn., he marched for civil rights and participated in civil rights programs with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He gave organizational speeches to the garbage workers of Memphis, Tenn. and also led marches to desegregate churches in Montgomery and Tuskegee, Ala. He and his late wife, Bennie, have three children.
Established in 1986 by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday honors the life and contributions of America’s greatest champion of racial justice and equality, the leader who not only dreamed of a color-blind society, but who also lead a movement that achieved historic reforms to help make it a reality. The King Holiday celebrates Dr. King’s global vision of the world house, a world whose people and nations had triumphed over poverty, racism, war and violence. The holiday celebrates his vision of ecumenical solidarity, his insistence that all faiths had something meaningful to contribute to building the beloved community.
Anderson University is a private, four-year, Christian liberal arts institution of approximately 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, the university offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, theology and nursing.