Jan. 16, 2008
Morningside College will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 21, with a presentation by David Dixon on the religious foundations of the Civil Rights Movement at 7 p.m. in the Yockey Family Community Room, 3609 Peters Ave., and also with a day-long radio presentation where college and community leaders share their memories of the era.
Dixon co-edited “Rhetoric, Religion and the Civil Rights Movement,” a book which compiles more than 130 speeches with religious impact that were given by ministers, rabbis and the laity during the Civil Rights Movement. As he compiled the speeches, Dixon contacted the families of major civil rights leaders to acquire their permission and cooperation on the book.
Sandi O’Brien, director of diversity affairs at Morningside, said Dixon’s presentation is appropriate for Martin Luther King Jr. Day because it will perhaps give insight into the reasons why King advocated for a nonviolent approach in the Civil Rights Movement.
“A lot of times people don’t focus on the fact that he was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King,” O’Brien said. “He was a preacher first before he was involved with the Civil Rights Movement.”
Dixon has been studying the relationship between religion and politics for more than 20 years, said Patrick McKinlay, associate professor and chair of history and political science at Morningside. McKinlay said Dixon understands how religious ideas can animate the American political debate, and he also has studied extensively the role of religion in Latin American politics.
“What Dave particularly brings to this as a Panamanian American – someone who has experienced his own obstacles navigating American prejudice – is a different perspective,” McKinlay said. “It’s not the only perspective, but it’s a different perspective that will be refreshing, especially in the context of the politics we face today.”
Dixon is an associate professor of political science at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., and he holds a doctorate in comparative politics from the University of Notre Dame. His visit is co-sponsored by Morningside College and the Sioux City chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
There will be a book-signing and refreshments following Dixon’s presentation.
Also on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Morningside College radio station, KMSC Fusion 88.3, will broadcast memories of the Civil Rights Movement as shared by college and community leaders. The recollections will be broadcast intermittently throughout the day.