UMB Event Marks Black History Month, Values of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Speaking to an audience drawn from throughout the University of Maryland, Baltimore, President David J. Ramsay, DM, DPhil, said that pieces of Dr. Martin Luther King's dream and "the kind of world he worked toward" can be found on campus today.
The president's remarks opened the 2010 Commemoration of King's birthday and Black History Month, which was held Feb. 3 at the Medical School Teaching Facility auditorium.
The keynote speech was delivered by C. Fraser Smith, a longtime Baltimore political journalist and author of Here Lies Jim Crow: Civil Rights in Maryland. Smith, whose work appears on WYPR-FM and in The Daily Record. , observed that the story of civil rights is largely about action taken by people whom few know. "It went on for decades before, during and after the period we think of as that of the Civil Rights movement."
He spoke of Donald Gaines Murray, Sr., the first black student in the School of Law, who graduated in 1938, and of Esther E. McCready, the first black student in the School of Nursing and who graduated in 1953. At the time that she was admitted, Murray was one of the lawyers representing her, Smith said.
The Martin Luther King, Jr., awards are presented annually to members of the faculty and student body who embody the personal and professional commitment to his ideals. Faculty and staff nominations are considered by a committee that makes recommendations to the president for the final selection.
The 2010 student recipients are Domonique Markland and Sarah Weese of the School of Law. Together they have logged over 700 hours in the Community Justice Clinic over the past 18 months, instructing boys ages 14-17 who are detained at the Baltimore City Detention Center while awaiting trial on adult charges.
The time the pair has spent with the youth, including over holidays and during the summer, has improved the boys' decision-making skills and contributed to a decrease in violent incidents at the facility. Phoebe A. Haddon, JD, LLM, dean of the School of Law, joined in the presentation.
Winner of the 2010 faculty award is Elijah Saunders, MD, professor in the School of Medicine and a leading authority on the diagnosis, treatment and control of hypertension in African Americans. A 1960 graduate of the school, he was the first black resident in internal medicine and the first black cardiologist in the state. He continues to be an effective teacher, mentor, and medical care provider.
In his absence due to a scheduling conflict, the award was accepted by his wife, Sharon Saunders, MD, a clinical assistant professor in the School of Medicine. E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the School of Medicine, joined in the presentation.