IU East’s MLK Celebration features Rev. C. E. McLain on January 19

Indiana University East’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is on Tuesday, January 19, 2016. The day will feature keynote speaker Rev. C. E. McLain at 3 p.m. in Vivian Auditorium, located in Whitewater Hall.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “The Courage to Love.” Events are sponsored by the IU East Diversity Events Committee.

Students are invited to a movie screening and discussion at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the Graf Center, located in Springwood Hall. Snacks will be provided. The morning movie is The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till and the evening movie is The Help. At 1 p.m., students are welcome to participate in a race game, “What Stands Between Us,” and discussion in Whitewater Hall Lobby.

Latishea Varnesdeel, special assistant to the chancellor and chief diversity officer, said McLain’s visit is in coordination with the Townsend Center event on Monday.

“The Richmond community will be able to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King at the breakfast and luncheon hosted at the Townsend Center on Monday, January 18.  However, on Tuesday, IU East will host events to honor Dr. King, as well as to discuss civil rights in the past and where we stand today.  The community is welcome to join us as we come together to understand issues of the past and present.”

Rev. McLain will speak on the history and his personal participation in the fight for civil rights. The event is free and open to the public.

Born in Ruston, La., McLain learned first-hand about civil rights from his parents, Claude and Mildred McLain. His father was a mathematics teacher at Jackson High School, before he became a minister, and he was one of the first five African-Americans to register to vote in Lincoln Parish. He was the pastor of Little Union Baptist Church in Shreveport. In the 1950s, Rev. McLain’s father helped in the attempt to integrate Louisiana Tech. He belonged to an organization called The Nicodemus Club that sought strategies to lay the groundwork for civil rights. Mildred McLain was the first in her family to finish college and became a school teacher.

The McLain family moved to New York so they could attend graduate school. While there at the Cornerstone Baptist Church, McLain heard Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preach. A few years later, McLain’s father hosted King when the civil rights leader came to Shreveport to teach non-violent tactics and to lead a march on Texas Avenue.

Rev. McLain graduated from Southern University in 1965 and later earned his master’s degree from Texas Christian University. He served as deputy director of the Community Action Agency before he was elected to the Lincoln Parish School Board as both its youngest and as its first African-American member. He would go on to be the pastor at churches in Ruston, Houston and Kansas City. When his father died in 1991, Rev. McLain succeeded him as pastor of Little Union. In 2002, he completed his doctorate at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Rev. McLain has also written four books.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Events
Tuesday, January 19

  • 11 a.m. – Movie screening and discussion in the Graf Center with free snacks: The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till
  • 1 p.m. – Race game and discussion in Whitewater Lobby titled “What Stands Between Us”
  • 3 p.m. – Rev. C.E. McLain will speak on his experience with civil rights, Vivian Auditorium, located in Whitewater Hall
  • 5 p.m. – Movie screening and discussion in the Graf Center with free snacks: The Help