SIU celebrates MLK

SIU celebrates MLK

By Tyler Davis, @TDavis_DE

More than 300 people commemorated the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. at a breakfast hosted by the Carbondale branch of the NAACP on Monday at the Student Center ballrooms.

The 33rd Annual King Breakfast started at 8 a.m. and featured top officials at SIU as well as some of Jackson’s County’s leaders: SIU President Randy Dunn, Carbondale acting Mayor Don Monty, City Manager Kevin Baity, NAACP President Ed Dorsey and Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens.

The breakfast included songs sung by the audience, a violin solo, essays and poems written about King’s legacy and speeches by Dorsey and Dunn. Local high school and grade school students volunteered and some were recognized for being on the honor role.


Dorsey said because of King’s reputation as a public servant, people could treat the holiday as an opportunity to serve. He said the children who participated gained the most of all attendees.

Religious and social leaders also joined the celebrations of King’s life. Father Bob Flannery of Saint Francis Xavier talked about King’s influence and the importance of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Rev. Joseph Brown, a professor in Africana studies, also attended along with the Rev. Daryl Cox.

Jayla Thompson, a student at Carbondale Middle School, performs Monday during the 33rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast at the Student Center. –Carrington Spires | Daily Egyptian

Below are some notable quotes from the day:

Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens

“This breakfast is a starting point for hundreds of conversations and collaboration and, perhaps, even a few disagreements over the years. It pulls together such a diverse group of people that I think it’s inherently a good thing because conversations occur that lead to greater projects.”


“The economic development that can ease racial tension is critically important, and it’s something that should be a priority, not only in southern Illinois but across the country.”

NAACP President Ed Dorsey

“No matter what number we have here, the key thing is that they’re not just staying at home, people are coming out on a holiday. If me and you were the only ones here today, I think it would be important that you came out.”

The Rev. Joseph Brown

“This is kind of in a sense like a church ritual; once you leave the church, it’s up to you. Once you leave this building, if you hear something that touched you, you have permission now, to work for justice.”

“As I was walking in this morning, I was feeling a little sad that this always takes place before school starts. Therefore, a majority of our students who are out of town don’t know this.”

Jariah Simelton and her grandmother Sharon Willis pose for a portrait at Willis’ home Monday in Murphysboro. Along with other family members, Simelton and Willis took advantage of the warm day to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day outdoors. —Jayson Holland | Daily Egyptian

SIU President Randy Dunn

“It’s not just on the NAACP chapter, it’s not just the university, it’s all of us who know the importance and are committed to the cause coming together.

“As we work together, do not hesitate to give us specific proposals, to request very discrete projects that we can come together on.”

“We have to do more. We can’t be satisfied with where we sit, the numbers we post, while we see some progress, that’s good, they’re not enough.”