Cleaver to speak about faith, politics

Tim Paluch

As part of Iowa State’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration, Kansas City’s first African-American mayor will address the ISU community on faith and politics.Emanuel Cleaver II became the first elected African-American mayor of Kansas City in 1991. He is also a reverend and the pastor of Kansas City’s St. James United Methodist Church. Lenola Allen-Sommerville, chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee, said with Cleaver’s similarities to King, as well as his vast experience on the subjects, he should provide important information for those in attendance.”Cleaver has a lot of experience and has a track record regarding diversity and inclusiveness,” said Allen-Sommerville, assistant to the Dean for Minority Programs for the College of Education. Allen-Sommerville said Cleaver’s accomplishments as mayor of Kansas City have made him important to his constituents and also the ISU community.”He has done quite a bit in the area of race relations, and also has made developing youth a high priority,” she said. “And we know today those are important areas that remain in the forefront in our media, in our classrooms and in our lives.”Mary Sawyer, associate professor of religious studies, said she suggested Cleaver for the lecture because he is an ideal speaker for relating civil rights to politics.”He was very involved in the civil rights movement in Kansas City and seemed very appropriate to honor Dr. King,” she said.Those in attendance, Sawyer said, will see in Cleaver the significance of Dr. King and the civil rights movements of the 1960s.”I think he is a reflection of what is the contemporary significance of the civil rights movement and civil rights act, and how those accomplishments apply today,” she said.The lecture will take place at 8 tonight in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union.