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MLK program highlights importance of diversity in African-American story

Posted January 15

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— A number of events are taking place this week to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on what would have been his 88th birthday.

Several dozen people of all ages and various backgrounds gathered inside the Duke University Chapel on Sunday to honor the legacy of King.

The theme for this year’s celebration was Building a Legacy of Civil Rights: Arts, Architecture and Activism.The university said that King reminds people that building a better world is an intentional act.

Going along with the theme, the keynote speaker was Phil Freelon, who lives in Durham. He was the lead architect for the Smithsonian’s new African American History and Culture Museum in Washington D.C. Freelon talked a lot about the significance of the design of the museum in Washington D.C., which includes the story of King.

Many said they were honored to hear from the man who had a vision for the structure that helps tell the story of King and so many others.

"I feel that, especially with out speaker, that art does imitate reality and the fact that we have this aspect of Smithsonian to celebrate black art and black contributions, so that's important," said attendee Isaiah Carter.

Many people said that they are living in uncertain times and events like Sunday’s on King remind them of the importance of diversity and the African-American story.

“This is a day and time to celebrate that and to say there’s so much history that brings us here and there’s so much history that moves us forward and we’re all people and we’re all American,” said attendee Karen Chachu.

The program also included singers and performances from children.

Duke said the program was put together with the understanding that architecture is significant when talking about activism, human rights and inclusion.

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