The civil rights movement did not end with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rather, advocates such as Mary Frances Berry have devoted their professional careers towards making sure such accomplishments are preserved and only diminished by what the future has to offer.
On Monday, Jan. 20, the Black Cultural Programming Committee will be capping off its celebration of MLK Day with a talk by Berry on her life and experiences fighting for civil rights.
Marlon Johnson, a graduate assistant on the committee, is proud that Berry will be on campus, and wants to ensure all students understand the ongoing importance of the fight for civil rights; not just those involved.
"We were looking for someone ... who really has kind of exemplified the work of Dr. King," Johnson said. "I think Mary Frances Berry has done a great job to establish and continue the work of Dr. King over the years."
Berry, currently a professor of American Social Thought and History at the University of Pennsylvania, is also a former chairwoman for the United States Commission on Civil Rights, an independent group created in 1957 that advises the government on pertinent issues of civil rights.
"She's been working ... behind the scenes to help the government make sure they are doing things and are always mindful of civil rights and that nature," Johnson said.
Johnson also reminded students that such a lecturer with her broader message of civil rights are part of an important conversation to be had with all segments of campus, no matter the color of one's skin or social standing.
"You are going to be working in a world with people of all different ethnicities and nationalities and different experiences," he said. "At some point in time, even you can feel marginalized no matter what the color of your skin is.
"I think this program represents the opportunity to give all students just a good sense of responsibility to one another, to be a part of this community, (and) be a part of this university."
History lecturer Paul Coker reminds people that the fight against inequality is not just one confined to textbooks, and worries the rights fought for may be in dire jeopardy.
"A lot of the opportunities that Martin Luther King (Jr.) was attempting to get, not only for African Americans, but for the American working class have actually diminished since the year of his assassination. One thing that I think the Americans who are celebrating Martin Luther King Day might consider is that it was as much ... about class as it was about race."