EDITORIAL: Commemorate buildings with meaning


Ashanti Thomas

Members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., write important messages on posters and encourage others to as well, to hold up while walking in the march for the 36th annual Martin Luther King Jr. program on Monday evening.

Editorial Staff

With Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Day celebrations wrapping up for another year, we at the News took time to reflect on how well Eastern has commemorated MLK Jr beyond the university union being named after him.

Many buildings across the states have been named after MLK Jr. However, beyond commemorating a building after him, many of the communities or brands/companies with the building do not further honor or celebrate MLK Jr.

The then-University Union, constructed in 1958, was renamed in 1971 as the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. However, the Eastern community had an uphill battle before the union was renamed.

Eastern’s Faculty Senate had to go to the Board of Governors and bypass the university president’s office due to the renaming being vetoed twice.

Whereas, in times of controversy and equal rights movements, some buildings were named after MLK Jr. as a way to say “we are diverse, here’s a building we named after MLK.” We at the News believe this should not be the way of thinking when commemorating a building after someone. 

In recent years Eastern students have continued to honor and remember King Jr. and what he stood for. Each year on MLK Jr Memorial Day, there are events held on campus to educate students and remember how important MLK Jr is.

This year there was a candlelight vigil and a day of service where students could volunteer to make blankets.

Even outside of MLK Jr Memorial Day Eastern students have further commemorated King Jr.

In 2005, the Black Student Union President Jeff Collier advocated for an addition to the MLK Jr Union be made; a timeline of King’s life.

At this point, only a portrait of King Jr. with his name was in the MLk Jr Union, which Collier felt was not enough.

With Collier and other student organizations and Eastern faculty’s help, a 30-feet-by-4-feet timeline of King’s life was added in the MLK Jr Union.

While more physical commemorations were not added to the MLK Jr Union until later in the building’s history. We at the News feel it is important to continue to remember King Jr., and his influence on the civil rights movement.


The Editorial Staff can be reached at 581-2812.