On Tuesday, the 16th of January, the Black History Intercollegiate Consortium hosted its 28th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Program. The program took place in Summerall Chapel and was the first Consortium program to ever take place at The Citadel.
The Black History Intercollegiate Consortium is an organization of higher education institutions in the Charleston area, and it currently consists of representatives from Trident Technical College, MUSC, Charleston Southern University and The Citadel. On this particular evening, the Consortium celebrated the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. and recognized each schools’ recipients for the BHIC’s 2018 MLK Humanitarian Awards.
Those awarded included Mr. Randy Grimes, the interim Department Head of the Media Arts Production Department at Trident Tech; Mr. Timothy Grant, assistant Dean for Student Organizations at Charleston Southern; Dr. Tajuan Wilson, assistant professor and executive director of student programs and student diversity at MUSC; and The Citadel’s very own Provost and Dean, Dr. Connie Book.
Each recipient was presented to the audience by a student from their respective College or University and was then followed by a song or performance after their acknowledgement. Mr. Grimes was followed by spoken poetry that was expertly performed by student Neisha Rodgers while the other recipients were followed by their own school’s Gospel Choir.
Dr. Book was the final recipient of the night, and with her departure from The Citadel coming at the end of this school year, the moment was sentimental for many in attendance.
In the words of Cadet Gabriel Massey who presented Dr. Book’s award, “Dr. Book is a loyal leader in The Citadel’s commitment to expanding diversity and inclusion”. It is because of this loyalty and commitment that Dr. Book was undoubtedly deserving of the award, and it is why she will be deeply missed as she moves on to become the ninth president of Elon University.
Following the presentation to Dr. Book, The Citadel Gospel Choir performed “Total Praise”, and the choir’s very own Cadet Michael Rice was awarded the BHIC’s scholarship by Colonel Robert Pickering, the Director of Multicultural Student Services and International Studies at The Citadel.
It was a night of reflection and fellowship, and it ended with the choirs collectively singing “We Shall Overcome”
Dr. King would have been proud.