MLK oratorical contest Thursday, documentary Monday

n observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as a day of racial harmony, Tennessee Technological University's Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center is sponsoring two programs on campus. Both are free and community members are encouraged to attend.

Thursday night, Tennessee Tech students will voice opinions on race, Affirmative Action and other issues in the Sixth Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Contest. The event gets underway at 7 p.m. in the university's Backdoor Playhouse.

On Monday, the center will present an evening celebration highlighted by the documentary, "Martin Luther King Jr., A Personal Portrait" at 7 p.m. in the University Center Multipurpose Room. The evening will also include the reading of Willa Perrier's poem, "39 Years - Too Short - Too Long - Long Enough," as well as a singing of the Black National Anthem, a moment of silence, remarks and refreshments.

The topic for Thursday's oratorical contest is whether race-based scholarships are needed. Six students will compete for prizes that range from $100 to $200. Black Student Organization President Dewayne Allen will emcee.

"The event gives students experience in public speaking and expressing personal opinions about a controversial topic," says Tonia Duncan-Rivers, director of Minority Affairs. "It can also initiate public discussions on the subject.

"We hope people interested in the issues and in Martin Luther King Jr. will come and join us for both events."