“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
This well-known Martin Luther King Jr. quote is bound to resonate in the minds of many who attend Thursday’s 6 p.m. panel discussion at the Univeristy of South Carolina’s School of Law auditorium.
The panel discussion kicks off several events held by USC to commemorate MLK Day.
The university began its annual celebrations more than 30 years ago and claims to be one of the first major universities in the South to commemorate King’s legacy.
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The panel discussion features South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal; former Columbia mayor Bob Coble; S.C. Rep. Mia McLeod; and law professor Eboni Nelson, all USC law graduates.
The free annual event is sponsored by the Black Law Students Association. The theme is “Learning is a gift, even when pain is your teacher.”
“This theme speaks volumes to the teachings of the late Dr. Martin Luther King,” said Joseph Wideman, a USC law student and the event’s organizer.
Current events may have some wondering if King’s vision has been lost, Wideman said. He thinks King would answer with an emphatic “no!”
“I believe that Dr. King would say we are running a marathon and not a sprint,” Wideman said. “Like in any marathon, you will hit road blocks along the way. But it is at those moments, that we must keep the faith, and the vision of the finish line ahead of us.”
Wideman says tonight’s program will offer a chance to “reflect on the challenges we face, the progress we have made, and it will provide the inspiration that we as agents of transformation will use to move forward.”
And he will be thinking of the earlier mentioned quote.
“Reading these words are a testament to the courage, perseverance, and determination, that we as law students and change agents must endure today,”
USC’s festivities will end with its annual MLK Gospel Festival at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Koger Center. The festival will feature the Brookland Baptist Gospel Choir and Pastor Shawn Jones and the Believers, an all-male gospel quartet from Rockford, Ala. The program also will feature remarks by USC graduate Rev. Chris Leevy Johnson.
Tickets to the MLK Gospel Festival are $10 per person and are available at the Koger Center.
Lezlie Patterson, Special to The State