RMC Celebrates the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

News Story categories: Music
Antonette Parish '26, Judge Robert L Gregory, Linae Branch, and President Lindgren standing on stage in blackwell auditorium

Randolph-Macon College celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 16, 2023 in Blackwell Auditorium inside the Center for the Performing Arts. Roger L. Gregory, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, delivered the keynote address.

RMC President Robert R. Lindgren welcomed guests, noting the continued importance of Dr. King’s work and life.

“It is essential that we keep his legacy alive, as we still do here today, striving to achieve his vision—one of inclusion, one of nonviolence, one of respecting the rights of all individuals, and one of promoting the understanding that we are all free Americans, no matter what we might look like, or where we might have come from,” Lindgren said.

Roger L. Gregory gives the keynote address as RMC celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Judge Gregory is the first African American to sit on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He is also the only person in the history of the United States appointed to a federal appellate court by two presidents of different political parties, having initially been a recess appointment of President Bill Clinton in December of 2000, then commissioned for a lifetime appointment by President George W. Bush in 2001.

In reflecting on Dr. King’s impact, Judge Gregory asserted that his legacy went beyond his great words and deeds.

“The impact of his words and works on those people who marched and who lit those lamps of progress, that is his greatest legacy,” Judge Gregory said. “It’s what’s built in the hearts of men and women.”

Judge Gregory laid out four crucial questions to continue towards Dr. King’s vision.

“What love did you give? How did you fight against despair? How did you rail against fear? And how did you protect the ideals of justice?” Judge Gregory charged to the audience.

Antonette Parish '26 performs "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" as RMC celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bookending Judge Gregory’s powerful words were musical performances from RMC students. Antonette Parish ’26 sang “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” with a piano accompaniment from RMC Choral Director Dr. Antonio Hunt, and Linae Branch ’23 sang “Stand Up” by Cynthia Erivo.

Each year, Randolph-Macon College celebrates the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by inviting a distinguished speaker to campus to commemorate King’s birthday. Previous speakers have included former Virginia Governor and Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, Pastor and Civil Rights leader Wyatt Tee Walker, former Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, entrepreneur Shelia Johnson, former Secretary of Commerce and Trade in the Commonwealth of Virginia Maurice Jones, Dr. Joseph F. Johnson, former acting president at Virginia Union University, and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.