Purdue Calumet MLK Observance Features Civil Rights Activist/Freedom Rider

Zellner-BobA campus visit by a Civil Rights activist, Freedom Rider and offspring of Ku Klux Klan members highlights Purdue University Calumet’s Martin Luther King Jr. observance Jan. 27-29.

Alabama native Bob Zellner, whose father and grandfather participated in the KKK, will discuss the search for racial justice and inequalities of the past during his keynote Convocation address, “Freedom Stories: An Unlikely Voice in the Face of Injustice”, at 11 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 29.

Also book author
Zellner also is author of the book, “The Wrong Side of the Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement.” He will sign copies of his book following the Convocation.

The 23rd annual Purdue Calumet observance also includes a panel discussion of students and former activists and a peace exhibit.

‘Spoke to our sense of shared humanity’
“It is our intent to show that the Civil Rights movement was a multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-generational movement that spoke to our sense of shared humanity,” Roy Hamilton, Purdue Calumet assistant vice chancellor for Educational Opportunity Programs and facilitator of the campus’ Martin Luther King Jr. observance, said.

He added, “People of all ethnicities, races, religious backgrounds, genders, sexual orientation and abilities were mobilized in the struggle for freedom and justice. Dr. Zellner represents a facet of this struggle.”

Panel discussion
The panel discussion, at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 28 and moderated by Purdue Calumet Associate Professor of Sociology Kathryn Sweeney, will be comprised of 1960s student activists and current Purdue Calumet students. They will share their thoughts on using their minds, bodies, and voices to effect change for Black, Latino, poor and disenfranchised people.

Panel members also will discuss whether conditions in cities such as Ferguson, Cleveland and New York are symptomatic of larger societal issues within the United States.

Exhibit focuses on lasting peace
The exhibit, “Building a Culture of Peace for the Children of the World”, brings together ideas of thousands of people and organizations dedicated to finding a path to lasting peace. On loan from Soka Gakkai International-USA, the exhibit will be displayed throughout the three-day observance, beginning with a ribbon cutting at 12:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 27.

All events are open to the public at no charge in the Student Union & Library.

Purdue Calumet’s MLK observance is sponsored by the university’s Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration Committee in conjunction with the Multicultural Campus Council.