Sarah Boumphrey, assistant to the office of the president of Ohio University, contacted me this afternoon. I thought it might be to let me know that they were finally going to give me my degree, but that wasn’t it.
She said that one of the faces in the crowd in my Martin Luther King, Jr., National Day of Mourning photos belonged to a young man who would eventually become the president of the university, and she wanted permission to Tweet it to commemorate Martin Luther King Day.
Here it is in context
The man who would become president, Dr. Roderick J. McDavis is on the right side of the photo. Follow the brick column straight down until you see a man in a white coat (Sarah thought he looked a little like Sean Penn). Dr. McDavis to behind and to his left.
You can click on the photo to make it larger.
Who would have thought?
The young man at the podium, James Steele, led a peaceful sit-in at the intersection of the town’s main drag, Court and Union Streets at the close of the memorial service.
He told the Ohio University Post in 2012, “It would have been hard for me to be persuaded that there would be a black president of OU (today). We can talk so much about the remaining problems and difficulties that we can lose sight of how profound some of the progress has been.”
Where do we go from here?
After the sit-in broke up, a few tattered signs remained behind, including one that is asking the question we’re still asking today, “Where do we go from here?”
The tight head shot of Dr. McDavis will be linked to this 2012 post which contains more photos and a more complete description of what happened on that Sunday, April 7, 1968, day when the nation was reeling in shock.
In 2013, the photographs were part of “Dawn of Mourning,” presented by Sigma Gamma Rho, Inc. in conjunction with the College of Arts and Sciences, the Athens County Historical Society and Museum, the Foster and Helen Cornwell Lecture Series, University College, the Campus Involvement Center, The Athens Messenger and The Post. Here is a catalog of the photos in the show.