“I could not fathom my time here without it.”
Editing by David M. Sula of Adelmar Entertainment.
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Transcript for The Martin Luther King Center
When I applied to Valparaiso University, you had to send a photo of yourself, with the application. So my first day on campus, my friends and I were moving me in, my parents were kind of setting up my room, because you know how moms do when you first move in. They want to make your bed, and do all that– so I was like whatever go ahead and do that. I can tolerate you for another two hours. Right?
My friends, I brought two friends up here with me, David and Sean. Both a lot darker complexion than I was. So while mom was setting up the room and dad was helping her, we decided to just go kind of walk around and see what was here and what it was all about. When I left my dorm room I started to come downstairs, I ran into Vic Glover. Vic Glover was the first director of Multicultural Affairs that I knew when I first came to Valparaiso. He was actually going around to all the dorm rooms and introducing himself to the new and incoming African American students. When I came around the corner, he was coming up the stairs. He didn’t have me on that list. So I started thinking to myself, well, coming from the school I came from and looking like I do, maybe they mistook me for something other than being an African American student.
A funny story I met this one girl on campus the first week, she thought I was from Malaysia. I had no clue or idea where Malaysia was or where it was from, but she asked me, “Are you Malaysian?” I’m, like, “No, I’m from Chicago.”
So I was curious, you know, why wasn’t I on that list and what did I have to do to get on that list? That’s when he told me who he was, and he invited me to come to this freshmen mixture at the Martin Luther King Center, which was a building that was located on campus down by the law school, which was primarily where African Americans would go to kind of get away from campus life, and, you know, come together.
It was extremely important and I could not fathom my time here on campus without having that place to go to. Not only did it serve as a place where we could get away, whether we wanted to have a party or, you know, play cards or just watch a movie or something like that.
It served a lot of purposes. One, it gave me my first job here on campus, because the students would be used to monitor it so that we could have the building open so that someone would always be there to accommodate people coming in and out, so it was a job. It was a means of contact with the outside community, because for kids that didn’t go home because they lived, you know, too far away to go home for holidays, Thanksgiving, we would have dinners down with people from the community because we had a community liaison, by the name of Betty Ballard. And she was invaluable during my time, you know, you could only eat so many chicken sandwiches and homemade waffles you know until you need something home cooked that reminisces something that you’re used to from your neighborhood. So they would always come in and bring us food, chicken, greens, typical African American food or soul food, as you would say. The final piece was just a social aspect. Just being down there and learning about and understanding some of the history of African American students on campus. You know we had our archives down there, we had videos down there, of past functions that they would do on campus. It was a place where you could go, and there were many a times where I stayed there all night because I was working on some paper, and I just needed some place where I could just relax and, you know, cook something when I wanted to and not have to walk or take an elevator to get somewhere. So it was invaluable during my time here.