MLK’s Impact on Piedmont’s Past, Present and Future

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Chloe Spradlin, Staff Writer

Each year another Martin Luther King Jr. Day passes, and many do not remember the importance of the holiday. There is more to it than a day off from work or classes. For Piedmont, it is a look into the university’s history and reflects the present and future.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has had an undeniable impact on everyone at Piedmont University. Students and faculty alike would not have the relationships they do if it were not for Dr. King. Without his work, Piedmont as an institution may not be the university we know it as today. 

Dr. King’s work took many decades to achieve the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This work affected higher education institutions nationwide. It took many Georgia colleges and universities decades to accept students of color into their institutions. Piedmont has had its struggles, but has had some progressive occurrences for its time.

During the height of the civil rights movement, Piedmont students called for the resignation of former president James E. Walter. Walter frequently accepted donations from racist and anti-Semitic organizations. It was unprecedented for students of a southern college to have this call to action in the 1950s. Dr. King had a great deal to do with that.

To this day, many Piedmont faculty, staff and students still preach inclusivity on campus. Professor of Mass Communications Laura Hudgens is no different.

Hudgens said, “I think on a personal level, the way that I teach and the way that I approach topics have been really impacted by MLK and wanting to make sure that everything I teach is as inclusive as possible.” Hudgens added, “Piedmont does a pretty good job of wanting to get people to feel welcome on campus, which is obviously a good thing.” 

To promote inclusion on campus, Piedmont has an organization called the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. The DEI hosts lunch-ins called “diversity talks’’ frequently to talk about issues on and off campus. Faculty, staff and students join to discuss topics to better themselves and the university.

The contributions of Dr. King have propelled Piedmont to be the inclusive university it is today and will push it to be more inclusive for years to come. 

Habersham County will be hosting an observance to remember Dr. King and his contributions to society. Join members of the community on Monday, January 16th, at the Sautee Nacoochee Center at 2 pm.