Scholar’s message provides perspective on Martin Luther King Jr.


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Martin Luther King Jr. – his contributions to civil rights are undisputed, however, according to Dr. Charles Payne, the Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, the "historical King was very different from the way King is remembered."

During the Adams State University Martin Luther King Jr. Week, Payne will present a free lecture, "De-mythologizing Martin Luther King and Racial Progress," at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, in Richardson Hall Auditorium.

Payne said: "The way he (King) thought about nonviolence, the way he thought about racial progress, the way he understood brotherhood , the way he understood poverty are all very different from what many people imagine. At the same time, he changed over time and most people aren't aware of those changes."

Payne is an affiliate of the Urban Education Institute. His interests include urban education and school reform, social inequality, social change and modern African American history. "I believe the more clearly we understand how social progress was made in the past, the more likely we are to make progress now. "

He is the author of Getting What We Ask For: The Ambiguity of Success and Failure In Urban Education (1984) and I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement (1995). The latter has won awards from the Southern Regional Council, Choice Magazine, the Simon Wisenthal Center and the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America. He is co-author of Debating the Civil Rights Movement (1999) and co-editor of Time Longer Than Rope: A Century of African American Activism, 1850-1950 (2003).

He recently published So Much Reform, So Little Change (Harvard Education Publishing Group) which is concerned with what we have learned about the persistence of failure in urban districts, and an anthology, Teach Freedom: The African American Tradition of Education For Liberation (Teachers College Press), which is concerned with Freedom School-like education.

Payne has received influential fellowships; has been a member of the several prestigious boards; is an award winning professor; and received a bachelor's degree in Afro-American studies from Syracuse University and a doctorate in sociology from Northwestern.

Along with Payne's lecture, a variety of events are scheduled. The week's activities begin with the comedy documentary, "Good Hair" at 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, in Carson Auditorium, located in the Student Union Building. Dr. Ed Crowther, professor of history, will lecture on "Out of the Mountain of Despair a Stone of Hope: MLK and the American Dream," starting at noon Wednesday, Jan. 23, in Porter Hall room 130. Free pizza will be provided.

In honor of MLK Jr., a Community Service Project is planned for Monday, January 21. All interested volunteers are encouraged to meet at noon in La Puente's Volunteer Office, located at 911 State Avenue in Alamosa.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information contact Joel Korngut at 719-587-8213.