International Group of Ambassadors Get Close Look at Morehouse and King Collection
By ADD SEYMOUR JR.
Ambassador Bockari Kortu Stevens of Sierra Leone has long been an admirer of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. ’48.
“The ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, I learned it by heart as a student,” Stevens said after he and 50 ambassadors from around the world were introduced to King and Morehouse during an Oct. 13 visit to the Atlanta University Center’s Robert W. Woodruff Library.
“To this day, I can say every single word of it by heart,” he said. “It shows my affinity towards King and my admiration for what he did. So for me, Morehouse represents that legacy.”
Stevens’ story is just one of many as the international dignitaries got an up close look at Morehouse and the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection. It was part of their “Experience America” tour of Atlanta. Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, the tour gives ambassadors an opportunity to see U.S. cities they’ve been curious about.
Asked by the State Department which city they wanted to learn more about, the ambassadors chose Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Their interest in Morehouse mirrors the College’s emphasis on international relations, said Julius Coles, director of the Andrew Young Center for International Affairs and Office of Global Education.
“We also are taking the whole process of internationalization of our curriculum very seriously,” he said. “We are seeking to double, even triple, the number of students who participate in study abroad programs.”
Chinese Studies Program seniors Sean Haythe and Jermaine McMihelk recited poems in Mandarin Chinese; senior Ali Osman talked about his study abroad experiences in China and Turkey; and Boris Dobrijevic, a freshman from Johannesburg, South Africa, talked about his journey to Morehouse.
Vicki Crawford, executive director of the Morehouse King Collection, gave an overview of the 10,000-piece collection housed in the Library. The ambassadors also saw a video detailing the College’s acquisition of the Collection.
“I was very moved when I was looking at the video. I had to fight back the tears,” said Ambassador La Celia Prince of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. “This is a rich legacy. Atlanta is the home of the civil rights movement and it would have been a sin and a shame for these documents to not be vested in the rightful owners, which are the people of Atlanta. So I was very moved and I think it even heightened my appreciation of Dr. King.”
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed agreed.
“When you see the enormous amount of human sacrifice that was put forth to provide the lives we have today – for both black people and white people – it’s hard not to be moved by the details of it,” he said. “It’s one thing to have a view of the architecture, if you will. I think it’s another thing altogether to look at the details that make up Dr. King’s life.”
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