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August 17, 2017

Youngest of ‘Little Rock Nine’ to anchor WCU’s MLK Jr. week

Carlotta Walls-LaNier, the youngest of the Little Rock Nine involved in the integration of the city’s Central High School in 1957, will deliver a presentation Wednesday, Jan. 20, during Western Carolina University’s weeklong celebration of the life, words and activities of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Walls-LaNier, who was 14-years old at the time of the confrontation with angry protesters, will speak at 6:30 p.m. in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center. The event is free and open to the public.

The week’s tribute to King begins Monday, Jan. 18, with a day of service projects at various community sites, including the Community Table, Catman2 and the Good Samaritan Clinic – all conducted by students through the university’s Center for Service Learning. Another day of service will close out the week’s observance Saturday, Jan. 23.

At 5 p.m. Jan. 18, WCU’s Department of Intercultural Affairs will offer a presentation on the purposes and successful techniques of peaceful demonstration marches, including organization and safety, in the Multipurpose Room of the University Center. The gathering will be followed by a unity march around the campus.

Norman Trent Falls, a WCU student from Mount Holly, will reenact the historic “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech in the Grandroom at noon Tuesday, Jan. 19. The speech was originally delivered by King in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 3, 1968 — the day before he was killed by an assassin — calling for unity, economic action, boycotts and nonviolent protest of unjust conditions.

The Grandroom will be an exhibition hall that day for the works of Haitian-American photographer Cendino Teme of Miami, Florida. The exhibit, titled “No More Blues,” is a compilation of Teme’s images from the I-95 peaceful protest that took place in December 2014. He will discuss his work at the exhibit location beginning at 7 p.m.

“Then and Now: Different Times, Same Struggles” is the theme of a dialogue scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, in Illusions at the University Center. The discussion will consider past and current equality issues in America and explore strategies for becoming active change agents in the community regarding those issues.

A second dialogue set for 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 22, in the Multipurpose Room will focus on “Race Microagression” examples within different cultural groups. A cultural mixer will follow at 11 a.m., providing a social opportunity for students to engage in cultural dialogue.

For more information about Martin Luther King Jr. Week at WCU, contact Kham Ward, director of Intercultural Affairs, at krward@email.wcu.edu.

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