[W]e must demand that our sovereignty be kept no matter what the cost in order to maintain our culture…From the teachings of Dr. King, we must demand freedom from our oppressors, this sovereignty is essential to our survival and freedom.

STEVEN TODD YORK '96 - President, MIT American Indian Science and Engineering Society

1995   21st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration


Inspiration

trumpet-conscience-mlkThe Trumpet of Conscience features five lectures that Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered in November and December 1967 for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Massey Lectures. Prior to King’s assassination, the book was released under the title Conscience for Change through the CBC. After King’s death in 1968, the book was republished as The Trumpet of Conscience, and included a foreword written by Coretta Scott King. The book reveals some of King’s most introspective reflections and his last impressions of the movement.   READ MORE

--Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University

 

THEME

The Trumpet of Conscience:
Dr. Martin Luther King's Contract with America


KEYNOTE

A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. ​
Civil Rights Advocate
U.S. Federal Appeals Court Judge for the Third Circuit
Public Service Professor of Jurisprudence, Harvard University
Keynote: "Martin Luther King's Open Letter to Newt Gingrich"


INAUGURAL MLK LEADERSHIP AWARDEES

Robert W. Mann
Professor Emeritus, Mechanical Engineering

Cynthia R. McIntyre PhD '90
Theoretical Physicist

American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)

National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)


CONFERENCE

6th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. 'Youthworkers Coming Together Realizing the Dream' Conference


INAUGURAL MLK VISITING PROFESSOR

Richard A. Joseph

Higginbotham Discusses Race Relations, GOP Contract

The Tech 
February 14, 1995

By Daniel C. Stevenson
Editor in Chief


Leo Osgood, director of minority education, President Charles M. Vest, A. Leon Higginbothm Jr., and Becky Vest participate in the traditional march from Lobby 7 to Kresge Auditorium on Friday, [February 10, 1995].

Leo Osgood, director of minority education, President Charles M. Vest, A. Leon Higginbothm Jr., and Becky Vest participate in the traditional march from Lobby 7 to Kresge Auditorium on Friday, [February 10, 1995].

As a student at Purdue University in the early 1940s, A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. lived in an unheated dormitory attic with 12 other black students. When he protested to the university's president about the harsh conditions, he was told that "the law doesn't require us to have you."

Exasperated, Higginbotham later transferred to Antioch College, earned a law degree from Yale University, and went on to become a distinguished jurist and legal scholar.

Higginbotham related his experience at Purdue in the keynote address at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Friday. In a talk entitled "Trumpet of Conscience: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Contract with America" he spoke of the Republican party's Contract with America and how it might affect race relations.

This year marked the 21st MIT celebration of the life and work of King, who was killed 27 years ago this April. Higginbotham also spoke at the celebration 13 years ago.

FIRST LEADERSHIP AWARDS BESTOWED

The events began in Lobby 7 with speeches about King's life by representatives of the Interfraternity Council, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), Hillel, La Union Chicana por Aztlan, the Black Students' Union, and Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgenders, and Friends.

At noon, President Charles M. Vest led the traditional march from Lobby 7 to Kresge Auditorium.

This year's celebration marked the inaugural presentation of the MLK Leadership Awards to two individuals and three organizations. The first recipient, Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering Robert W. Mann, was honored for his landmark work in biomedical engineering.

Cynthia R. McIntyre PhD '90 received the award for organizing a national conference for black physics students while a graduate student at MIT. "The conference was a resounding success, and has since become an annual event, held at different universities around the country," Vest said.

The awards for organizations went to AISES, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers for their joint sponsorship of a career fair.

The three groups "show by example what can be done when different groups work together for common goals," Vest said.

Vest introduced Higginbotham as "a true friend to MIT," referring to his work on behalf of the Institute in the Overlap case, where several universities were accused of violating antitrust laws by meeting each spring to discuss financial aid packages for students.

Just months after retiring, Higginbotham joined MIT's attorneys and argued before his former court on behalf of the Philadelphia school system, the Urban League of Philadelphia, and a coalition of bar associations of Hispanic, Black, and Asian American attorneys in the Philadelphia area.

"These groups are the counsel for the interests of those bright and very needy students who would be most adversely affected" if need-blind admissions were eliminated, Higginbotham argued. Speaking at MIT was a chance "for me to say to a school that has treated students better than [Purdue] treated me, that 'You are on the right track.' "

Higginbotham framed his address as a message from King to Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) about the latter's Contract with America. The contract "may very well be one of the most tragic hopes and potential cruelties" in American politics, Higginbotham told the audience in Kresge Auditorium.

Higginbotham told Gingrich, "It is within your power to make our nation more fair than it has been in decades, or to make it more mean."

"What scared me so much" about the contract, Higginbotham said, was that "not once do you say that you want to eradicate racial discrimination. Not once do you say that you want to eradicate gender discrimination."

"Today, many African-Americans and other persons of good will are hoping that your Contract with America will not constitute a denial of justice to the weak, the poor, the powerless, and minorities," Higginbotham wrote in December.

Higginbotham to Deliver MLK Address

The Tech 
January 18, 1995

By Stacey E. Blau
Staff Reporter


leon_higginbothamjrRenowned jurist and legal scholar A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. will speak at MIT's Feb. 10 celebration honoring civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This year's activities mark the Institute's 21st annual celebration of King's life and work. King would have turned 66 last Sunday.

Higginbotham is the chief judge emeritus of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Public Service Professor of Jurisprudence at Harvard University.

Higginbotham's address is part of a series of day-long events, said Leo Osgood Jr., the new dean of the Office of Minority Education. Osgood is co-chairing the planning committee for the MLK celebration with Professor of Physics Michael S. Feld '62.

The events will begin with an invitational breakfast hosted by President Charles M. Vest and his wife Rebecca welcoming Higginbotham, Osgood said.

The theme of this year's address and celebration is "The Trumpet of Conscious: Dr. Martin Luther King's Contract with America." The traditional silent march from Lobby 7 to Kresge Auditorium at noon will precede Higginbotham's address, Osgood said.

King "developed a contract with America," Osgood said. "Judge Higginbotham would like to explore that thought as it relates to the civil rights movement," he said.

Higginbotham discussed the contract with America theme in a Dec. 1 Boston Globe column entitled "Our Contract' with Rosa Parks." In the column, he addressed the new Republican-majority Congress: "Today, many African-Americans and other persons of good will are hoping that your 'Contract with America' will not constitute a turning back in the denial of justice to the weak, the poor, the powerless, and minorities."

A reception in the Student Center will follow the Kresge address, Osgood said. Higginbotham will meet and talk with members of the MIT community at the reception.

The celebration will continue Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. in Kresge with a performance by jazz vocalist Semenya McCord, Osgood said. McCord will be performing "A Journey into a Dream," a musical tribute to King.

In addition, Melvin H. King, director of the Community Fellows Program, plans to conduct a weekend youth conference, Osgood said.

HIGHLY INVOLVED IN GOVERNMENT

The MIT community might better remember Higginbotham for his support of the Institute in the Overlap case. In the case, the Justice Department charged MIT and other schools with violating the Sherman Antitrust Act by discussing and agreeing upon the financial aid packages of individual students who had been offered admission to more that one of the schools.

After nearly three years of litigation, the case was settled in December 1993. In June 1993, Higginbotham joined MIT's attorney and made an impassioned argument before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He argued that the public service aspect of the case outweighed the alleged harm of price-fixing. "This is not the politics of exclusion, it is the practice of inclusion," he said.

Higginbotham served as circuit judge and chief judge of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals from 1977 until his retirement in March of 1993. Prior to his tenure as an appeals judge, Higginbotham served as a district court judge for 13 years.

He was named a member of the Federal Trade Commission in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy. He was the youngest person ever appointed a member of the FTC as well as the first black person to serve on a commission of a federal regulatory agency.

President Lyndon B. Johnson later appointed Higginbotham vice chairman of the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence. Higginbotham also served on a variety of judicial conference committees under the tenure of Supreme Court Chief Justices Earl Warren, Warren Burger, and William Rehnquist.

Higginbotham is the author of a book entitled In the Matter of Color - Race and the American Legal Process: The Colonial Period. The book garnered several national and international awards. Higginbotham is presently in the process of writing two more books.

Higginbotham received his law degree from Yale University in 1952. In addition to his present teaching position at Harvard, he has also taught at the law schools of the University of Michigan, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, and Yale.

 

MLK Leadership Awardee

The first MLK Leadership Award recipient, Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering Robert W. Mann, was honored for his landmark work in biomedical engineering.


 

The closed-circuit-television (CCTV) reader for the visually impaired, a bachelor thesis product by two MIT seniors. Unlike current commercial versions, the control panel I am operating with my right hand moves the copy under the TV camera.

The closed-circuit-television (CCTV) reader for the visually impaired, a bachelor thesis product by two MIT seniors. Unlike current commercial versions, the control panel I am operating with my right hand moves the copy under the TV camera.

From Prof. Mann's "Engineering design education and rehabilitation engineering" (JRRD Vol. 39 No. 6, Nov/Dec 2002, Supplement pp. 23-38):

Introduction

My academic career of more than 50 years has been committed to involving undergraduate and graduate students in the engineering design process [1]. A variety of experiences—childhood model making, vocational high school education, draftsman jobs, and military assignments during World War II—have convinced me that one learns to design by being required to design. At MIT, first as a research engineer and then as faculty, I mounted an unending search for appropriate topics to develop into engineering design goals as well as thesis topics for my students. As part of that search I became involved in rehabilitation engineering (RE) in the late 1950s and early 1960s through a combination of prior unrelated R&D work and the influence of two individuals. A chance meeting with John Kenneth Dupress led to blindness-related projects, and an accident befalling Norbert Wiener led indirectly to my limb prostheses research. For my students as well as for me, RE proved a winner! Students were challenged technically while working on projects that had real human significance—that indeed would ultimately improve the quality of life for thousands of people. The prospect of making such contributions attracted the best students to my research projects.

READ MORE

MLK Leadership Awardee

Credit: George Mason University, Photograph by Neil Adams, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, R

Credit: George Mason University, Photograph by Neil Adams, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, R

Theoretical physicst Cynthia R. McIntyre PhD '90 received the MLK Leadership Award for organizing a national conference for black physics students while a graduate student at MIT. "The conference was a resounding success, and has since become an annual event, held at different universities around the country," [MIT President Charles] Vest said.


 

Co-founder of the organization National Conference of Black Physics Students. Dr. Cynthia McIntyre is a theoretical physicist whose work has concentrated in the area of condensed matter. Her research focus is on the electronic and optical properties of semiconductor heterostructures. Her current research studies electron-phonon interactions in low dimensional semiconductors. [AIP]

RECENT ACTIVITY

MLK Leadership Awardees

The MLK Leadership Award for organizations went to AISES, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers for their joint sponsorship of a career fair. The three groups "show by example what can be done when different groups work together for common goals," [MIT President Charles] Vest said.


AIES-logo

The mission of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) is to substantially increase the representation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, First Nations and other indigenous peoples of North America in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies and careers.

 

NSBE-logo

We envision a world in which engineering is a mainstream word in homes and communities of color, and all Black students can envision themselves as engineers. In this world, Blacks exceed parity in entering engineering fields, earning degrees, and succeeding professionally. The mission of the National Society of Black Engineers is "to increase the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community."

 

SHPE-logo

SHPE changes lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development. SHPE's vision is a world where Hispanics are highly valued and influential as the leading innovators, scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

MLK Professor is named

Dr. Joseph greets Nelson Mandela- Johannesburg, South Africa, June 2, 1990

Dr. Joseph greets Nelson Mandela- Johannesburg, South Africa, June 2, 1990


MIT Tech Talk
February 15, 1995

Political Science Professor Richard A. Joseph of Emory University in Atlanta is the first to be named a Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor.

The new program was proposed last year by the Martin Luther King Committee, co-chaired by Professor Michael Feld of physics and Dean Leo Osgood of the Office of Minority Education.

Provost Mark S. Wrighton announced the appointment Friday at a breakfast hosted by President Charles M. Vest and Mrs. Vest in connection with MIT's 21st annual celebration of Dr. King's life. The two-year appointment begins in September.

Professor Joseph works closely with the Carter Center in Atlanta, the organization of former President Jimmy Carter.

The provost also noted that Professor Marcus A. Thompson, recently appointed the first Robert R. Taylor Professor at MIT, would perform at the MLK celebration later in the day. Professor Thompson, a noted violist, holds a chair MIT created last year to honor the Institute's first African-American alumnus, who graduated in 1892.

Student Group Leaders Speak on the Legacy of Dr. King

The Thistle, Vol. 9 Iss 9.02
Reported by Kristen Nummi Nummerdor

 

The following are excerpts from the student group speeches presented in Lobby 7 on Friday morning. The speeches were coordinated by Brima Wurie, assistant to the Deans in the Counseling and Support Services and International Students' Office.

Belinda García
La Union Chicana por Aztlan [Garc’a read excerpts from King's "Letter from a Birmingham City Jail."]

"Nearly three decades have passed since Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his letter from the Birmingham city jail. Yet in many areas around this country, justice is still being delayed, still being denied. (For some of us, it's been a 500 year wait.) Like Martin Luther King's dream, I too hope that one day my very own children will be judged on the content of their character. How many more generations will pass through these corridors before this dream is a reality?"

Teresa W. Lau
Coordinator, Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals,and Friends at MIT and founding member, Asian Pacific American Caucus

"The challenge for us, as I see it, becomes a question of how to build on Dr. King's ideas and work around equality for African Americans, to expand those concepts and those analyses to address the complexities of inequality as we know it to be. The struggles of today, the struggles I find myself in the midst of, require that we pay attention to the many levels and manifestations and sources of oppression in our society. Along gender lines, class lines, over sexual preference and now citizenship status with the passing of Proposition 187, we are being divided, and then conquered. An example that comes to mind is the way that, 2 years ago, African Americans and Asian Pacific Americans were pitted against each other with myths and stereotypes, so that by the end of the LA riots, we could hardly see clear of all the media images and propaganda to even begin finding each other as allies. It's things like that that pain and frustrate me the most: when I see men of color perpetuating misogyny and sexism, when I see the poor and working class people supporting anti-immigrant legislation, when I see queer people voting against affirmative action. When things like that happen, we are only perpetuating the system of oppression that keeps us all down. And really, we should know better. We should know better than to buy into the kind of injustice and inequality that Dr. King and the civil rights movement of the sixties challenged and began mobilizing against. As we move into the future and continue the struggle, we have to see each other as the allies we could be, rather than as competitors for whatever small piece of the pie we think we're getting. We must take what the past can teach us, and use those lessons to help each other to survive and overcome the oppression that Dr. King fought against. It is up to us to continue the struggle, and particularly, to pay attention to our histories as we do the work of creating our future."

S. Todd York
President, American Indian Science and Engineering Society

"What does it mean to be a Native American? Our lives are not those in Dances With Wolves of even in F Troop. We are three groups of people, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. What we have in common is our culture. Our respect for the land and all of its creatures and our connectedness to family.

"We are a unique group because we possess a dual citizenship: America, and our respective tribe. In a time when our sovereignty is being scrutinized by the Republican Right, we must demand that our sovereignty be kept no matter what the cost in order to maintain our culture.

"What does all of this have to do with the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., you might ask? From the teachings of Dr. King, we must demand freedom from our oppressors, this sovereignty is essential to our survival and freedom."

Brian Dye
President Interfraternity Council

"Dr. King also said, 'I'm here, taking a stand, and I've come to the point where I can't face it alone.' And he was exactly right. There is no reason for him, or for anyone, to have to stand alone against prejudice or discrimination in any form. To honor his memory, and his achievements in life, all we have to do is give. Give away our fears, and our hatred, and our ignorance. And help others give away theirs. When all of us feel the cut of a crude joke, and feel hurt when we see another person discriminated against, then we are on the path towards equality."

Sheldon W. Myrie
Political Actions Chairperson, MIT Black Students' Union

"Dr. King showed how closemindedness benefited no one and that closemindedness made a society overlook the obvious and important fact that we are all human beings. Through peaceful resistance and protest Dr. King not only led Blacks but led the nation to believe that the 400 years of injustice and brainwashing have caused massive apathy in America when concerned with the issues of human and civil rights. Unless we endeavor to challenge what we are conditioned to believe, all will remain in apathy and remain in ignorance."

Rebecca Wolfe
MIT Hillel [Wolfe read inspirational passages from figures in Black and Jewish history. One excerpt is included below.]

"It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because, in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness. I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us too. I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquillity will return again." [Anne Frank]


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