AMES, Iowa -- More than 40
“As I grew up, learning about Dr. King and what he meant was a gradual process,”
The crowd included a large contingent of elementary school students who also participated in the event, which was sponsored by the Iowa State athletics department, Alpha Phi Alpha, Ames Community Schools, Ames Human Relations Commission, Boys and Girls Club of Ames, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., the ISU Government of the Student Body, ISU MLK Planning Committee and ISU Office of the Provost. United Way of Story County, Youth and Shelter Services and YWCA Ames-ISU played a major role in the celebration.
During the celebration, several members from an
“When we started planning for this night, we first were looking at doing something solely about Jack Trice,” SAAC president Jenny Mockler said. “But as we talked about it we wanted to do something to demonstrate how African-Americans and people of all races had done great things in all of our sports.”
Among those recognized by other ISU athletes were former Cyclone head wrestling coach Bobby Douglas, the first African-American to represent the
For Messiah, there is a clear link between what he had learned about Martin Luther King and sharing the accomplishments of those who had broken race barriers in sport.
“I think they match up really well,’ Messiah said. “It is a chance to help others better understand what Martin Luther King stood for and how others broke through the barriers he had worked to break. If you can help a young person better understand the great successes of those who stood up for what they believed in, you have done something good. Jack Trice stood for those things and it went beyond football. He wanted to help others do what he had done.”
The night’s emcee, YWCA board member and director of diversity for the ISU Government of the Student Body (GSB) Rohini Ramnath agreed with Messiah.
“(The student-athletes) helped others tonight, especially the younger people, conceptualize what we were celebrating tonight,” Ramnath said.