Stanford University professor tips UNZA students
VISITING Stanford University history professor, and Director of the Martin Luther King Jr., Research and Education Institute, and civil rights activist Professor Clayborne Carson says in the fight for freedom, people’s power is stronger than physicalforce. Giving a public lecture at the University of Zambia in the Senate Chamber to students and lecturers on Wednesday 20th August 2014, ProfCarson said freedoms had been won using peaceful means even under the mostpowerful regimes
And the University of Zambia Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Enala Tembo-Mwase welcomed Prof Carson to the University of Zambia on behalf of the university management, staff and students when he paid a courtesy call on her at her office. She thanked him for coming to inspire UNZA students and the Zambian youths through the works of the late Dr Martin Luther King Jr. She said Zambian students should learn and believe that the most productive, constructive and progressive way of resolving any form of misunderstanding is through non-violent means. Prof. Mwase said she was personally delighted and inspired to meet someone who was present at the time Dr Martin Luther King Jr. presented the famous 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, DC. Prof Mwase presented a token of appreciation to Prof Carson.
Prof Carson is in the country at the invitation of the United States Embassy to explain the relationship between that country’s 50 year of Civil Rights Act and Zambia’s golden jubilee. Prof. Carson advised students, lecturers and members of the public to access free papers by and on Dr Martin Luther King Jr by visiting his institute’s website: http://www.kinginstitute.info/. He further announced that starting January 2014, he will be offering an online course on Martin Luther King Jr papers, and invited Zambians to enroll.
He gave an example of the South African apartheid era as one powerful establishment where the power of the people eventually prevailed.“People power is stronger than physical force, you just have to mobilise.And you have to understand that from the freedom fighters that are here,”he said.
“We should celebrate 50 years of citizen rights, we should honour freedomfighters. There should be memorials here in Lusaka, and that shouldinspire us to ask Martin Luther King’s question, ‘where do we go fromhere?’ How do we achieve what Martin Luther achieved? How do we endpoverty? Those are some of the questions we need to ask ourselves. It isone thing to be a slave, but it is another to have the psychology of aslave.”
On the use of violence in the fight for freedom, Prof Carson discouraged the idea and said it limited the number of participants.ProfCarson further said Martin Luther King Jr wanted to learn a lot from other worldleaders.When asked to speculate what Dr Kenneth Kaunda and King discussed duringtheir meeting in the US in 1960, Prof Carson responded: “Martin LutherKing felt that we had a lot to learn from other countries in terms ofrights. Martin Luther King did not just meet your first president; he also
met other world leaders. He met the president of Ghana, he also metMahatma Ghandi and many other world leaders. In India, for example, he hadto deal with how to compensate people who you deny rights. He looked atthe experience in India where you have a class system. And afterindependence India made a decision that people had to be compensated.”
Professor Carson has devoted his professional life to the study of Martin Luther King Jr and themovements King inspired. Since receiving his doctorate from University ofCalifornia Loss Angeles in 1975, Prof Carson has taught at StanfordUniversity, where he is now professor of history and founding director ofthe Martin Luther King Jr Research and Education Institute.During his undergraduate years, Prof Carson participated in civil rightsand antiwar protests, and many of his subsequent writings reflect hisexperiences by stressing the importance of grassroots political activitywithin the African-American freedom struggle. His scholarly publicationshave focused on African-American protest movements and political though ofthe period after World War II. His other publications include Malcolm X:
The FBI File (1991) and African American Lives: The Struggle for Freedom (2005, co-author), a comprehensive survey of African-American history.In 1985, the late Coretta Scott King invited Prof Carson to direct along-term project to edit and publish the papers of Dr Martin Luther KingJr. In 2005, Carson founded the Martin Luther King Jr Research andEducation Institute to endow and expand the work of the King PapersProject. Under Carson’s direction, the King Papers Project has producedsix volumes of The Papers of Martin Luther King Jr.