The Belmont University Black Student Association held a candlelight vigil Monday night in commemoration of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“We’d like to stop and be very intentional about who we choose to remember, and I think that inviting people to participate and hear these stories is very impactful,” BSA President Jeremy Capps said. “I think it allows people to feel engaged but also allows them to hear a lot of stories that don’t usually get told. We have one day to celebrate Dr. King, and there were 100 other people who followed him that were also very important and integral to the civil rights movement we want to focus on and remember as well.”
The vigil started at 7 p.m. in the Beaman Student Life Center, where students began their candlelit march around the quad. Capps led students in civil rights hymns like “We Shall Overcome” as the march made its way toward the bell tower and ended with “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
“For those of you who may not have known, the last song we sang is the Negro National Anthem,” Capps said to the crowd. “It is telling how a song like that doesn’t get taught in schools and isn’t something everyone here probably knew. It’s information we have to seek out, similar to the legacy of Dr. King.”
The vigil continued as BSA members and Belmont students read brief biographies of famous civil rights leaders — among them King, Malcolm X and Rep. John Lewis.
The vigil ended with a moment of silence and a closing statement from Capps.
“I would like to invite us all to a moment of silence to reflect on the names we’ve just heard, as well as some of the names we’ve heard in just the past year,” Capps said. “The same racism that took the lives of many of these civil rights leaders is still at work today.”
The BSA will continue its commemoration of King with a series of events continuing from Tuesday through Friday, Jan. 27. More information regarding MLK programming can be found here.
Article written by Sarah Paravia and Zach Gilchriest. Photos by Sarah Paravia.