Looking past the dream

Carolyn Kapaska

Martin Luther King Jr. was remembered on the anniversary of his birthday during “Martin Luther King Jr.: Liberal Education and the Philosophy of Nonviolence,” a lecture given by J. Herman Blake on Wednesday evening in the Memorial Union.

“The world as well as the nation was moved by the eloquence of King,” said Blake, vice chancellor for undergraduate education at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis.

During his presentation, Blake asked the 75-member audience to look beyond King’s “I Had A Dream” speech and focus on his personal reflections, viewpoints and stance on liberal education throughout his lifetime.

“His memory became much more than a dream,” Blake said. “We need to understand what we celebrate.”

Blake personally became interested with King’s ideas during the active year of 1963.

During that time, Blake said he subscribed to Malcolm X’s words of violence and did not feel that King’s philosophy of nonviolence could be effective.

“I remember a small group of us gathered in Berkeley and scorned him, laughed at him … he was so out of touch with reality at the time,” he said.

Through both education and experience, Blake said he learned that King’s philosophy was right. Today, he said he respects King both personally and as a visionary and philosopher of nonviolence.

Blake explained King’s goal of transforming the United States.

“He was not just interested in just change, he wanted transformation, which lies much deeper,” Blake said. “He expressed the hope, based on fate.”

King wanted to transform the whole community. He believed that reconciliation and peace would bring about a better community based on both political and social terms, Blake said.

“He sought a community in which the social conditions would benefit all,” he said.

Blake said he feels that King’s concept of power was creatively merged with the power of love. King believed that love and nonviolence could form a transformation.

“His focus was on the attack on evil more than that of individuals,” Blake said.

Blake ended his presentation with a segment titled “Martin Luther and We.”

“We cannot expect one leader to carry the burden anymore. We must stand on the shoulders of Martin Luther King, we must all walk in his path … all of us must join hands to develop the beloved community.”

Blake will also present a lecture titled, “Generations of Warriors,” today at noon in the Gold Room in the Memorial Union.

The lecture is an analysis of a study of nine generations of women who grew up in the same community.

Blake is a visiting George Washington Carver Scholar.