Remembering MLK


Eliot Fuller

Students in Advanced and Intermediate Dance classes portray different historical aspects of female African Americans to music by Nina Simone and Arlissa. “[The performance] was about how black women had to show themselves off to get money,” Makaila Ford, junior, said.

Eliot Fuller, Co-Editor

The University City community held its 34th annual celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 16. The program kicked off at 6:30 pm with student speakers Aliyah Mitchell and Annie Rhoades, seniors, delivering the introduction. 

“We were approached by [superintendent] Dr. Hardin-Bartley to host the celebration this year,” Rhoades said. “I was kind of surprised, but really honored as well. I wanted to be a part of this program because I feel it is really important to honor Dr. King’s legacy and I want to get better at using my voice.” 

Following their introduction, Rhoades and Mitchell welcomed members of the orchestra and choir to the stage. The two groups performed together, beginning with a rendition of the Black National Anthem, ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing.’

The orchestra selected just five members, with the addition of orchestra teacher Amanda Davis, to play alongside the choir. 

“We didn’t get a lot of practice together, but [our performance] went well, and the choir sounded really nice,” Mialla Khlor, sophomore, said. “I think the orchestra was good background music for them.”

As the students exited the stage to cheers from the crowd, the event shifted to a more somber tone, with guest speaker Terry Harris delivering an emotional speech about race in America. Harris is the Executive Director of Student Services in the Rockwood School District, and husband to librarian Erica Harris.  

After Harris finished, students from the Advanced and Intermediate Dance classes walked on stage to perform, one  of whom was Re’Naye Moseley, sophomore. They had just one week to prepare their dances for the celebration.

“The teacher asked who wanted to do it and it seemed fun,” Moseley said. “The hardest part was remembering the different moves of the dance.”

Clad in red sparkling outfits, the three girls from the intermediate class danced to “Four Women” by Nina Simone. 

“The ceremony was inspirational and I’m glad I got to be a part of it,” Moseley said.    

To wrap up the night, school board members Matt Bellows, Kristine Hendrix and Chelsea Addison stepped up to the podium to present the 2020 MLK Spirit Award. This year’s recipient was Hazel Erby, former St. Louis County Councilwoman, St. Louis County Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  

Following Erby’s acceptance speech, Hardin-Bartley delivered closing remarks, and the audience proceeded to the main hallway where refreshments and treats were served.