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Anderson charges crowd to promote peace, learn history, take action

By Staff
HONORING DR. KING Guest speaker Jolivette Anderson reflects on the visions and dreams of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. during a program Thursday in McCain Theater on the campus of Meridian Community College. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Chris Allen Baker/staff writer
Jan. 18, 2002
A nationally recognized poet and educator charged a crowd at Meridian Community College on Thursday to promote peace, learn about history and take positive action.
Jolivette Anderson said civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. set the tone for an era that changed the country. Referring to King's most famous speech, Anderson said change begins with dreams.
Anderson spoke to more than 200 people, including elementary, high school and college students. Her speech was the centerpiece of MCC's celebration of King's life.
Programs honoring King will continue on Monday a holiday in his honor. Events include a parade through downtown Meridian that will feature high school and college bands.
On Thursday, attention was focused squarely on MCC and Anderson.
Anderson said that all people should have "an intimate and personal knowledge and understanding of what black history and black culture are."
She said black history includes studying the past and understanding contributions blacks made to civilization. She said that black culture "is our past, present and future that gives us our identity and purpose for being here and perspectives on the paths we should take."
Self-esteem is an important part of discovering an identity, Anderson said. She advised the students to "value yourself as a human being."
Anderson said people also should learn how to communicate. "You must read. You must analyze what you learn and discuss things with your peers," she said.
PEACE, she said, is an acronym that can stand for two different things: "patience, endurance and controlled emotions" and "positive energy always creates elevation."
Anderson is a native of Shreveport, La., and graduate of both Louisiana Tech University and Grambling State University. Today, she is an algebra project assistant at Lanier High School in Jackson.
She considers Mississippi to be the birthplace of her professional career, including conducting and performing literacy workshops in Mississippi and abroad earning her the nickname "poet warrior."
After her speech, Anderson said she thinks Martin Luther King Jr. Day is getting more recognition each year.