The recently opened Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza on Fraser Street in downtown State College is a wonderful new asset to our community.
While traditional memorials honor important people and events that have shaped history, this plaza is a truly unique monument to the legacy of Dr. King and is particularly appropriate for our community: It is commemorative, educational and inspiring.
Visitors to the plaza can stroll across pavers with information about Dr. King’s work and a timeline of events in the history of the civil rights movement. A metal mural features photos from Dr. King’s 1965 speech in Rec Hall where he stressed that “if democracy is to live, segregation must die.”
Fittingly, the plaza is designed to be a place where people from all walks of life can meet and where civic life and the arts can flourish. Possibly the most exciting aspect of this special monument is that it encourages us to become what Dr. King called the “beloved community,” an inclusive community where the dignity and value of every person is respected and diversity is recognized, encouraged and embraced.
The official dedication ceremony, featuring presenters who spanned the generations, from recent State High graduate and current Penn State student Janelle Bullock to 91-year-old Dr. Preston Williams, one of Penn State’s first black professors, will be available to view online at cnet1.org by Friday and will be shown on Channel 7 at 3 p.m. Sept. 9 and at other times.
Amber Concepcion, Daniel Duffy, David Hutchinson and Laurel Zydney, State College
The writers are members of the State College Area School District board of directors.