Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Kicks Off

The University of Alabama’s College of Communication & Information Sciences hosts an event screening a civil rights documentary to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

By Malia Davis
News Reporter

TUSCALOOSA – The College of Communications and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama sponsored an event on Jan.14 to screen a civil rights documentary focusing on Martin Luther King Jr. and the influence of media.

C&IS partnered with the  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee to start this year’s MLK celebration by showing Hope & Fury: MLK, The Movement and The Media. This documentary shows the issues about past and current civil rights disputes as well as the effect media has on them.

“We want to make sure that you as students, faculty, and staff had increased opportunities to learn about Dr. MLK,” said Dr. Christine Taylor, vice president of the committee.

The kickoff event also invited award-winning writer and producers Rachel Dretzin and Phil Bertelsen, who both worked on Hope and Fury. Dretzin expressed the important role of media, because the birth of network news happened during the Civil Rights movement. The documentary  is also a way to showcase the evolution of media from then to now.

“Phil and I took the project on and decided that we wanted to expand the range of the story and look also at the way of which the media covers civil rights issues today,” Dretzin said.

This event was an opportunity for faculty and students to be able to have an inside look on how the media has used their platform to cover these difficult topics. It sparked conversation about uncomfortable topics.

“Every time you watch this you see something different and it can get you thinking about what I can do,” said Dr. George L. Daniels, assistant dean of administration for C&IS. “We want to educate, we want to inspire you, we want to compel you to take action. We also want to encourage to share what you learn tonight.”

These events are also appreciated by many students. It gives them the opportunity to look closer into the life of MLK and incorporates media, which are some of their future career paths.

“I think it’s important because events like the ones in the documentary are still happening today and media has a big role in how they are perceived,” said Amber Greene, a senior majoring in public relations.

The commemorative committee has many events lined up to celebrate Dr. King’s life and teach the public about a variety of civil rights issues. The committee scheduled events like dialogues, concerts, workshops, and other events until Jan. 31.

For more information about these events or to learn more about the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, visit diversity.ua.edu/dr-martin-luther-king-jr-2019/