As Amer­i­cans get ready to bear wit­ness to the first African-​​American pres­i­dent sworn into the highest office of the United States, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity cel­e­brated the legacy of another African-​​African leader in the nation’s his­tory today. The Uni­ver­sity hon­ored Rev­erend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as part of an annual con­vo­ca­tion gath­ering fac­ulty, staff and students.

Today’s event, spon­sored by Northeastern’s John D. O’Bryant African-​​American Insti­tute, fea­tured per­for­mances cel­e­brating African-​​American cul­ture, as well speakers including Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun and Rev­erend Dr. John Sil­vanus Wilson, Jr., exec­u­tive dean and asso­ciate pro­fessor at George Wash­ington University.

In his opening remarks, Pres­i­dent Aoun empha­sized the impact Barack Obama’s elec­tion having across the globe. “The uni­ver­sality of this elec­tion sym­bol­izes the enor­mous progress in this country, but also under­scores what needs to be done in many other parts of the world,” said Aoun.

Aoun also reflected on how far the U.S. has come and urged the North­eastern com­mu­nity to do exem­plary things, both as a com­mu­nity and as indi­vid­uals, to ben­efit society.

At North­eastern, our goal is not to mirror society but to be a model for society,” added Aoun.

Wilson deliv­ered the keynote address and spoke about the later years of Dr. King’s life and how the mes­sages he deliv­ered more than 40 years ago are still rel­e­vant today. “He was beau­tiful because he was coura­geously com­mitted to the right thing,” said Wilson. He also lauded the elec­tion of Barack Obama as “a spe­cial moment” in U.S. history.

Other speakers included Richard O’Bryant, director of the O’Bryant African-​​American Insti­tute, and Dr. Emmett G. Price III, chair of the depart­ment of African-​​American Studies at North­eastern. Stu­dents Mar­ques Crosby, pres­i­dent of the Black Stu­dent Asso­ci­a­tion, Robert Ranley, pres­i­dent of the Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment Asso­ci­a­tion, Nathan Simms, pres­i­dent of Brothers About Change, and Dou­glas McEachern, pres­i­dent of Alpha Phi Alpha, also took to the stage and brought their own voices to the legacy of King.

Per­for­mances cel­e­brating African-​​American cul­ture and art included a per­cus­sion and dance act by Intafrika, and Northeastern’s Unity Gospel Ensemble fea­turing Marchelle Jacques-​​Yarde, who deliv­ered a solo that sparked energy throughout the audience.

Fol­lowing the con­vo­ca­tion, a recep­tion was held in Gallery 360, fea­turing an exhibit by 13 artists from Northeastern’s African-​​American Master Artists in Res­i­dence Pro­gram. The exhibit (open through Monday, Jan­uary 19) fea­tures art in var­ious forms, from paint­ings to sculp­ture to dig­ital art, which focuses on the African Diaspora.