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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Upcoming Events Celebrate Life of Martin Luther King

Francine Pratt with student and President Clif Smart

 It was in 1963 that more than a quarter of a million people of diverse ethnicities attended the March on Washington, sprawling from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial onto the National Mall and around the reflecting pool. At the time, it was the largest gathering of protesters in Washington, D.C.'s history.

Francine Pratt, director of the Multicultural Resource Center at Missouri State University, discusses Martin Luther King, Junior Day, local events and the importance of Black History Month.

After the march, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Junior delivered a 17-minute speech, later known as "I Have a Dream". It is said that he departed from his prepared text to share his dream:

"And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

More than 50 years after that march, inequalities still exist, but Pratt is encouraged by what she has seen even in the planning of local events celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Junior.

To build community and pay respect to all that this man’s life stood for, Martin Luther King Junior Day will be observed nationally on Jan. 19. Pratt discusses the local opportunities to get involved.

Change was at the root of Martin Luther King Junior’s dream, and one way Missouri State is following that credo is by participating in the National Day of Service.

Annually, February is recognized as Black History Month wherein people of all backgrounds recognize the accomplishments and contributions made by African Americans throughout history. Pratt explains more.

For more information on any of the events mentioned today or that will be highlighted throughout February, visit



Nicki received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration from Missouri State in marketing, in 2002 and 2004 respectively. After gaining experience in writing, marketing, special event planning, fundraising and public relations, she returned to the university to work in the office of strategic communication. There she tells the university’s story by sharing the stories of individuals at Missouri State.