The Wayne State University community joined with students, activists and local leaders at the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center on Jan. 21 to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as part of the university’s annual MLK Tribute.
Hundreds of metro Detroiters packed into the center’s main auditorium for the celebration, which featured musical performances, short speeches and poetry as well as the keynote address from featured guest W. Kamau Bell, a comedian and host of CNN’s “United Shades of America.”
Hailing the impact of King’s work throughout the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and ’60s, Bell encouraged attendees to continue King’s fight against racism, poverty and structural inequality.
“That legacy doesn’t mean anything if we’re not building,” said Bell. “You’ve got to take this legacy and these ideas out into the world and build on them and be yourselves, even in the most difficult moments.”
The tribute also featured an address by WSU President M. Roy Wilson.
“(King) refused to accept that things could not be changed for the better,” said Wilson. “He refused to accept that he personally couldn’t make a difference … He could have taken the easy road, but he chose the hard one — and he paid the ultimate price. We, all of us, are beneficiaries of his sacrifice.”