The Yellow Spring News Ohio has some pictures of the artists who participated in the Grand Introduction Ceremony of the Coretta Scott King Center for Cultural and Intellectual Freedom. I was intrigued why they included IF in the name of the Center. I was aware of the major steps of Martin Luther King Jr’s struggle for civil liberties, but knew very little of his wife’s activities. Her bio at thekingcenter.org is impressive. It mentions that “Mrs. King has traveled throughout our nation and world speaking out on behalf of racial and economic justice, women’s and children’s rights, gay and lesbian dignity, religious freedom, the needs of the poor and homeless, full-employment, health care, educational opportunities, nuclear disarmament and ecological sanity.”A lot of the topics on this long list of interests relate to IF, but it was not explicitly mentioned. For the history of the Centre I had to check out the webpage at Antioch College, where it is located and where Mrs. King graduated from. There I learned that she
granted Antioch College the use of her name for a specific curriculum and program that would provide education, awareness and advocacy around issues of social justice and diversity. The framework for the Coretta Scott King Center for Cultural and Intellectual Freedom was created as a result of both student led initiatives and concepts outlined in a paper by Antioch alumni, Everette Freeman, on April 13, 2004. At the same time that Antioch students and community members were requesting more accountability around the ways that issues of cultural and intellectual freedom were addressed at Antioch, Everette Freeman produced a thoughtful concept paper titled, “Toward Community: A Plan for Embedding Cultural and Intellectual Freedom Into the Fabric of Antioch College.”
I attempted to locate Freeman’s paper, but failed. I would be curious of ideas how to enhance IF in colleges. I feel I have no reason to complain in this regard, I never felt restricted. On the other hand I heard from other students that they feel IF is not as wide as it could be. The major reasons they cite is the time pressure (there is just not enough time to discuss topics and include all the diverse viewpoints in class) and that professors squelch opinions that are radically different form theirs. In my experience those classmates of mine shared this second opinion whose way of expounding their ideas I found disruptive in the class. I think the professors’ intervention was more about the format and less about the content of their words. But it is just one person’s experience I don’t have a wide perspective on the topic. I would be interested in finding some statistics. Meanwhile I wish the Coretta Scott King Center a lot of success.