Dr. Ed Crowther reviewed MLK Jr. history vs. memories


The ways in which the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are remembered was the subject of a free lunchtime talk presented January 20 by Dr. Edward Crowther, chair of Adams State University's Department of History, Anthropology, Philosophy, Political Science, and Spanish. Crowther coordinates the university's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Week.

On Thursday, January 21, Adams State will host a presentation by Charles E. "Charlie" Cobb, Jr., who worked for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) as Field Secretary in the Mississippi Delta during the Freedom Summer of 1964. His keynote address, Changing America: From Martin Luther King to Mississippi, begins at 7 p.m., in Carson Auditorium, located in the ASU Student Union Building. Prior to the lecture, Cobb will sign copies of his book, This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible, starting at 6 p.m. in the Carson Auditorium foyer. The event is free and open to the public

When historic moments and individuals become iconic, Crowther said, there is a tendency to simplify and flatten the memory. "We remember King by getting it mostly wrong; we remember what we want to remember, and don't remember the things that are challenging or make us uncomfortable," Crowther said. "Dr. King increasingly found racism and inequality to be rooted in 'acquisitive materialism' connected to white supremacy in the South."

He noted creation of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday moved the man from the periphery to iconic status in mainstream U.S. history. "He did not set out to be a Civil Rights leader. History happened to Dr. King," Crowther said.

By Julie Waechter