31st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at MIT - Gwen Ifill

Search transcript...



QUINLAN: Good morning, everyone. We're about to start this morning's program. So if you can make it to your seats, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. [MUSIC - T. D. JAKES - "HIGH IN ALL THE EARTH"]

Oh Lord, we praise you. Oh Lord, we glorify you. Oh Lord, we lift your name up, high in all the earth.

Oh Lord, we magnify thee and bless, bless your holy name. Oh Lord, we lift your name up, high in all the earth. High in all the earth. High in all the earth.

Oh Lord, we praise you. Oh Lord, we glorify you. Oh Lord, we lift your name up. High in all the earth.

Oh Lord, we magnify thee and bless, bless your holy name. Oh Lord, we lift your name up high in all the earth. High in all the earth. High in all the earth.

Oh Lord, we praise you. Oh Lord, we glorify you. Oh Lord, we lift your name up, high in all the earth.

Oh Lord, we magnify thee and bless, bless your holy name. Oh Lord, we lift your name up, high in all the earth. High in all the earth. High in all the earth.

Oh Lord, we praise you. Oh Lord, we glorify you. Oh Lord, we lift your name up, high in all the earth.

Oh Lord, we magnify thee and bless, bless your holy name. Oh Lord, we lift your name up, high in all the earth. High in all the earth. High in all the earth.

We lift your name high, high in all the earth. Hold up and lift your name. We lift your name high, high in all the earth.

Higher, higher, high, higher, oh Lord. We lift your name high, high in all the earth.

Oh Lord, we lift your name high, high in all the earth. High in all the earth. High in all the earth.

High in all the earth. High in all the earth. High in all the earth. High in all the earth. High in all the earth. High in all the earth.

QUINLAN: Good morning. My name is Sandra Quinlan. I'm a senior, pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering, and I'll be your mistress of ceremonies for this morning's breakfast celebration. Please join me in thanking the MIT gospel choir.

In the spirit of our celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King, we would like you to greet, meet, shake hands with someone near you, across from you, behind you, or at your table. Welcome to the 31st annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. I would like to take this time to thank President Susan Hockfield, and her husband, Dr. Thomas Byrne, for hosting this event. I'd also like to welcome Miss Gwen Ifill. It's a pleasure to have you here with us this morning.


As a current student, I'd like to thank my colleagues for waking up so early this morning and making it over to Walker Memorial.

However, we can't go on with this morning's program without giving recognition and thanks to the 2004, 2005 Martin Luther King, Jr. planning committee, to whom we owe this wonderful morning. As I call your names, please stand. However, please hold all applause until all the names are called.

Assistant Professor Larry Anderson, Professor Martin Culpepper-- please remain standing-- Professor John de Monchaux; Professor Jerome Friedman; Associate Dean Arnold Henderson, Jr.; Assistant Director Deborah Lieberman; Co-Director Paul Parravano; Administrator Tobie Weiner; Reverend John [? Westnick; ?] Chancellor Phillip L. Clay, ex-officio; Sara Wright, ex-officio; and Gregory Jones, class of 2005. And the committee co-chairs are Dean Leo Osgood, Jr. and Professor Michael Feld. Thank you all for contributing to the success of this event.

This morning's program will begin with an invocation from Reverend John Westnick. Following the invocation, we will have breakfast, after which, two students-- Miss Sarah Gonzalez, class of 2007, and Mr. Jonathan Gabes, class of 2006-- will guide us in reflection of the life and legacy of Dr. King. Chancellor Phillip L. Clay will recognize the 2004, 2005 Martin Luther King, Jr. leadership awardees.

We will then have the MIT gospel choir come up to sing a selection for us, after which, we'll hear remarks from Dr. Susan Hockfield. And she will introduce our keynote speaker, Miss Gwen Ifill. Following the keynote speaker, Provost Robert Brown will recognize our Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting professors for the 2004, 2005 academic year. let us begin breakfast with the invocation by Reverend John Westnick.

WESTNICK: Good morning, everyone. Please join me in prayer. Almighty God, as dawn breaks this day, we gather to celebrate the legacy and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Warm our bodies from the cold outside. Dispel from our hearts the fear within. Enable us all to fully enjoy like spirits-- people around us, strangers, acquaintances and friends-- dedicated to uphold the justice and equality, which are the rights of every human being. And where there is sadness because of circumstance or condition, hold this sadness in your arms, oh God.

Help us all to choose justice over greed. Help us to choose freedom in lieu of self-interest, and accept the consequences. Bless, oh Lord, the food we will enjoy. Lift up those who prepared this setting, who cooked the food, and those who clean and serve. Amen.


But thanks for--

QUINLAN: Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you've enjoyed your breakfast. We will now continue with the rest of our program. I have the pleasure of introducing two of our very own students-- Sarah Gonzalez, a sophomore in the School of Management, and Jonathan Gibbs, a junior in aeronautics and astronautics. They will guide us in a reflection on the life of legacy of Dr. King. We will begin with Sarah.

GONZALEZ: Good morning. Welcome, President Hockfield, distinguished faculty, and guests. My name is Sarah Gonzalez, and I am a sophomore studying management science and biomedical engineering here at MIT. This speech is dedicated to all the positive role models in my life-- in particular, my father, who is celebrating his 50th birthday today.

This morning I will talk about the life and legacy of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As an educated man with a passion for the podium, Dr. King's spoke of brotherhood, equality, and human rights. He turned his back on centuries of hatred and war. He embraced peaceful and unified protest. He suffered, but persevered.

In the end, Dr. King conquered an entire country without ever picking up a weapon. He won an invaluable battle which was a turning point in the fight for civil rights. However, he did not win the war.

We need to continue what he could not overcome, and overcome the stereotypes and complacency that are hindering us from fulfilling his dream. Rather than a forced and demeaning separation, my generation grew up with an unspoken social segregation-- a segregation caused by people discouraging other people.

It is not cool to be different, to cross boundaries, to make straight As. The youth of this generation-- and more specifically, a good number of the minority population-- are not taking advantage of the rights that Dr. King himself, and many others, fought for, including the right to move up in the world socially, academically, politically, and professionally.

For example, most minorities in my hometown of Summerville, South Carolina, have grown up with a common but naive opinion that they can never be professionals or scholars, because one, there are so few positive role models. And secondly, the discouraging environment fails to nurture achievement. As the first person from my high school in its almost two centuries of existence to be accepted to MIT, I hid my joy and excitement because I was afraid of disheartening comments.

My classmates told me I was only accepted because I am female and Latina. Even my favorite teacher-- a female, and the only teacher in my high school with a doctorate degree-- pulled me aside to discourage me from attending MIT. She told me that I would not do well in the school's demanding environment, and suggested I go somewhere else, closer to home, with less pressure.

At that moment I believed her. And I walked away doubting myself more than ever. Why would she be so discouraging? Why did she not believe in me, and encouraged me to be the best?

As you can see, I did not allow her words to stop me from coming here and standing before you this morning. What she did not know is that I already had a community of positive role models in my life that encouraged me to step up to the challenge of MIT. I developed this family during an intense six week program called Minority Introduction to Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and Science-- also known as MITES.

Every summer, that program brings together the best of the best, to push them to their limits, and show them what they are capable of academically. More important, however, is the fostering, encouraging environment of determined minority students and high-achieving minority teaching assistants. The MITES program showed me that I am not bound by any of the stereotypical limitations associated with minority ethnic groups.

Nevertheless, most minority students not have the opportunity to attend such an influential program. How will these students be able to stand up against the many obstacles and racial prejudices they will face throughout their life? How will they know that their achievements are not limited by the color of their skin? How will the youth of America be encouraged to reach for the stars, unless they know about more role models, such as the first female president at MIT, Dr. Susan Hockfield? Or prominent minority figures in the White House, including Condoleezza Rice and Alberto Gonzalez?

Just as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. influenced people to reject inhumane treatment and demand their rights, despite the difficulties they would face, I hope that everyone in this hall will reach out and embrace every opportunity to mentor, to become a role model, and to support programs that encourage students to accept the challenge and break through the remaining frontiers, professionally and scholarly. Help finish the war that Dr. King began. Thank you.

QUINLAN: Thank you, Sarah. We will now hear from Jonathan Gabes. Jonathan?

GABES: Good morning. Again, welcome. My name is Jonathan Gibbs and I'm a junior in aerospace engineering.

Those that know me well will tell you that I am no less than a fanatic about the field of flying-- hence this fly blue suit. And currently I'm also the treasurer of the MIT chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Black Student Union political action committee chair, and a Jackie Robinson scholar. But more importantly, I am particularly proud to be one of the many privileged products of the preliminary progress that we are here to celebrate.

My senses and spirits are soaring in the stratosphere right now, because my retinas are the rich recipients of a fantastic fluorescent formation-- a fabulous flotilla full of fervent and unique individuals-- of a kind fleet of philanthropic Homo sapiens, who are not only the harvest, but also the cultivators of Dr. King's prolific premonition. So on this morning, I am much obliged to Dr. Martin Luther King, and to the many others who, when presented with America's moral dilemma, enlisted their lives into an armada for justice and equality.

Thank you, President Hockfield, for hosting this breakfast to honor their legacy. And I am personally grateful for the privilege of delivering these remarks.

The other day I was in the Marriott eating lunch on my way to the coop to pick up some books, and I sat down in one of those large couches, and began to read the paper. I peered up, and I saw a tall homeless man with a three-piece suit on. He looked weary and cold, and he came and sat down across from me.

I asked him how he was doing, and he said he was in good spirit, even though he had a pain in his side. I saw a suit. It had a small hole on the left, near the hip. And he asked me for a little bit of change. And I gave him the $0.15 I had in my pocket.

And he remarked that he had enough spare change. And I was wondering why he would refuse my generosity. Why would you bite the hand that feeds you? He said, John, don't you look at me like that. I am your family. My name is Dr. King.

And I was perplexed at the fact that this homeless man knew my name, so I began a brief fireside chat with him. He said that people seem to have some sort of a dilemma. We want to help somebody, but we don't want to risk our own good fortune to do it.

You had a dilemma. You gave me your spare change because it's insignificant. You won't notice later that it's gone. That way, you can feel humble, and keep your money at the same time.

That's interesting, I said. And he went on, and I became more and more fascinated with his ideas. And I asked him where he was going. Well John, he said, things are rotten in Washington DC.

Did you know that Senator Lott still believes in the Hamitic hypothesis? I'm not surprised, I said. And Dr. King continued.

I wish Senator Lott knew Dr. Mordecai Johnson, Dr. [? Hara ?] [? Gabon ?] [? Corona, ?] Dr. David Ho, Dr. Mae Carol Jemison, or Henry Cisneros. I wish he knew about your brothers in Chocolate City-- Gary, Chris, Charles, Jonathan, Yani, Brian, and Calvin. And it's not just Senator Lott.

Oh, really? I said. He said yes, he replied. I just talked with Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard. See, he believed that women don't have the same aptitude as men, and I reminded him of Harvard's own Dr. Cecilia Payne. And I told him that just down Mass Ave, they have a president that also proved-- and will continue to prove-- his theory wrong.

And Mr. Summers, he talked about some of MIT's policies and programs. And he orated, I kind of see MIT as, it's kind of an outcast. It's not quite like other schools.

I respectfully disagreed. Mr. Summers became more arrogant, agitated, and irate, so I provided some antiseptic to alleviate his ignorance. I told him about Dr. Nancy Leveson, Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, Dr. Nancy Hopkins, and Dr. Sheila Widnall.

I told him that while MIT may not be the outcast, you'll soon discover that MIT is the prototype. I said, wow, Dr. King. No wonder all of a sudden Lawrence Summers made an initiative to hire more female faculty.

And Dr. King, he started, leaned back in his chair. And then he said, I came here to check up on you, John, before I get on my way. You see, I saw you in that private school in the DC metropolitan area.

I saw you when you almost flunked out because your peers convinced you that you were inferior. And I saw that teacher tell you that you were not smart enough to continue at their predominantly white high school. And I saw you get ridiculed after your acceptance to MIT.

And then, I saw you eat your last supper right here in the Cambridge Marriott before you went on down to Ames Street for your first day of Project Interphase. And I knew you was accepted to other schools, but you chose to come to MIT. And then despite your accomplishments, neither you nor your parents were sure you could make it at the 'Tute.

Yeah, I remember, I said. It was the best of times, and the worst of times. I was happy to be here, but I still wasn't sure if the Hamitic hypothesis was wrong. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders, and my knees buckling.

And Dr. King continued. And some more time passed, and I observed that Interphase with the first time that you, John, were in a positive academic environment. And I didn't have any more worries.

And I also went to see your parents, and I asked about you. They said Jonathan did all right, and he came home right after Interphase. And a few days later, they put you back on a Southwest 737 with service to Providence. And that you never looked back.

I said, that's right. I remember touching down on runway five right at T. F. Green Airport. And Dr. King continued. You know your mother wishes you would call home more often, and your father said never to forget your Christian upbringing.

And Dr. King told me he was glad to see that I was, indeed, doing all right. He said, I'm going to tell you why I got so mad about your spare change.

I don't want your spare change, because I need to get all the way back to DC to talk to Senator Lott. And if I had a million dollars, I could buy my own 737 and fly on down to National Airport.

If I had $50,000, I could make a down payment on a BMW and drive on down the turnpike. Heck, if I had $1,000, I could buy that hooptie you call your minivan.

I said, Dr. King, I know it's a hooptie, but I don't like to let anybody else drive it. I don't like people messing up my mirrors and stuff. And Dr. King, he went on. Well, if I had $100, I could at least get a bicycle from the Newhouse Bike Auction.

But if all you give me is spare change, I have to walk and stumble along with all deliberate speed. I have to be extra, extra, extra careful, because I don't want to make a wrong step. If you give me spare change, I'll always have to keep asking for more spare change, and then you will ignore me.

I got enough spare change to buy this suit and sit here with you, so I can look like your economical equal. But you and I both know that I'm homeless. And when you gave me your spare change, you reinforced my feelings of inferiority.

Can you understand how insulting it is when it is I that throws some spare change at you? You can't even decide whether or not to pick it up, especially when all your peers are watching you. I hope you understand why I don't want your spare change.

And as we concluded I told Dr. King I would drive him to the airport. And he asked me if I would pass his message on to somebody, if I ever got the chance. And I'm glad I got the chance to pass that message on to you today.

And later I went home and I watched some TV. I was watching this movie, and these two men were trying to get rid of this beaver dam because it was blocking up a reservoir. Eventually, one of the men arrived with a shotgun. And he was about to shoot the family of beavers.

And then before he could get a shot off, one of the beavers ran up, and he bit his foot. And the man dropped the shotgun into the water, while the beavers ran off to safety. You see, even the beaver had enough courage to bite the foot of the man with the gun, trying to shoot his family. He knew he couldn't move with all deliberate speed, otherwise he would have gotten shot.

Sometimes I wonder if we are just engineers, or if we are actually beavers. I know I'm a beaver. I got this ring on my finger, right here, that says I'm a beaver. And I always give more than my spare change.

And don't forget, that has taken over 100 years of legislation, sweat, tears, and sit-ins, for us to sit here, in an academic setting, to imbue our brains and each other's intellectual expeditions. But there is still much more work to be done.

See, maybe you didn't know somebody that walked on Washington. And maybe you weren't related to anybody that had to struggle for everything they had. But some of the people around you did. And they are from all different kinds of places.

See, the people that you work with and bond with, they're not just your colleagues-- but they are your family. Oh, you may not be part of their immediate family, but if you open up a biology book, you will discover that you are, in fact, of the same kingdom, phylum, and class. And if you read on a little bit further, you will discover that we are all, in fact, of the same family.

And if we liken ourselves to beavers, we ought to act like beavers and move to protect our family. Let's all join Dr. King's armada on the way to DC. But before we do that, we have to understand how ridiculous, insulting, and foolish it is to try and accomplish Dr. King's goal with just spare change.

But we need to comprehend the reason why we have to stumble along with all deliberate speed. It's because we have to keep asking for more spare change. I hope we understand why nobody cares about spare change. And I know you don't want my spare change. Thank you.

QUINLAN: Thank you, Jonathan. Once again, I would like to thank both Sarah Gonzalez and Jonathan Gabes for letting the words of Dr. King be heard once more. I hope that everyone here today had a chance to listen carefully.

Now I have the honor of asking Chancellor Phillip L. Clay to come to the podium and recognize the MLK 2005 leadership awardees. Chancellor Clay?

CLAY: Sarah and Jonathan were wonderful, and I think we need a song to move the program along, but I'm afraid you have me. I want to take just a minute to recognize this year's winners of the Dr. Martin Luther King leadership awards. These awards have been given for a number of years to individuals in our community-- faculty, students, alumni, staff-- who have given extra. We might call it those who have stepped up in some way.

And we have the honor of recognizing three people who are exemplars of that tradition, this morning-- but if I could just say an additional word. As Jonathan was speaking, I thought back on a speech that Dr. King gave that spoke to the issue of stepping out. And both of our student speakers pointed to the discouraging experiences that they had, and are examples of a willingness to step out on the wings of faith.

And Dr. King talked about this flight he was on where the storm was very violent. There was the need to move on from the particular city, and how, at some point, the pilot said, we are going to step out on wings of faith, as it were.

And we have a case here of individual students who did that stepping out on the wings of faith. And it's to the credit of the MITES program, and Interphase, and other initiatives, that they were able to do that. And I hope we can maintain that opportunity, to make sure that there are these wings that provide a path for our student leaders.

The three people who are honored this year are first, Mr. James S. Banks, class of '76. James? James is an executive with Hewlett Packard and the Agilent Technologies, and over a number of years has worked with our offices of minority education to identify job opportunities and industrial support for MITES and other programs. And we are grateful to James for this, not only in his role as an alum, but as a graduate of MIT and the MITES program. Thank you very much.

Our second awardee is Russell. We all know him as Erich Caulfield, graduate student. Erich?

Erich is the immediate past president of the Graduate Student Council. And all of us, I'm sure, are aware of his excellent leadership during the critical period when the Institute, under his leadership of graduate students, the Institute was able to make progress in a number of areas, including health insurance and housing.

And I mentioned to Erich last night, or to the dinner last night, that Erich probably gave more homework to those of us in the administration than any student in recent times. I don't think he quite got that, but I'm sure my colleagues in the administration know how much extra work Erich made us do. And we are all the better for it. So thank you very much, Erich.

Our third awardee is Professor James Shirley-- professor in bioengineering. James? In the nomination letters, we had the text of the nomination, and there was a very long list of students as well as colleagues, who pointed to the great leadership James has given in the area of student mentoring, and science, and leadership, and support, for a number of student organizations. We are delighted when faculty members take these-- make this extra effort-- to support students both in their classroom, and their scholarship, and in their organizations. So for these things, we thank and honor Professor Shirley.

Last night we had a dinner at which these awards were made, and we gave them a nice plaque, and something in an envelope. I never opened the envelope. But thank you very much.

QUINLAN: Thank you very much and congratulations to this year's recipients. Per Chancellor Clay's request, I would like to invite the MIT gospel choir up to the stage for another selection. [MUSIC - JUDITH CHRISTIE MCALLISTER - "SING PRAISES TO THEE"]

Come and sing unto the Lord a new song. Hallelujah, sing praises to thee. I will clap my hands before him. Praise him all day long. Hallelujah, sing praises to thee.

I will lift the savior up for all men to see. Hallelujah, sing praises to thee. For there's no other place I'd rather be. Hallelujah, sing praises to thee.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, sing praises to thee. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, sing praises to thee.

I will sing unto the Lord a new song. Hallelujah, sing praises to thee. I will clap my hands before him. Praise him all day long. Hallelujah, sing praises to thee.

I will lift the savior up, for all men to see. Hallelujah, sing praises to thee. For there's no other place I'd rather be. Hallelujah, sing praises to thee.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, sing praises to thee. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, sing praises to thee. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

To the king of kings and the lord of lords, hallelujah. To the king of kings and the lord of lords, hallelujah.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah. To the king of kings and the lord of lords, hallelujah. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, sing praises to thee. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, sing praises to thee.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah. To the king of kings and the lord of lords, hallelujah. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah. To the king of kings and the lord of lords, hallelujah.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, sing praises to thee. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, sing praises to thee.

QUINLAN: Thank you. It gives me great pleasure to welcome the 16th president of MIT, and the first female president in the Institute's history, Dr. Susan HOCKFIELD. She will give some remarks and proceed to introduce today's guest speaker, Miss Gwen Ifill. President Hockfield?

HOCKFIELD: Morning, everybody. It's an enormous thrill to be here. And I want to thank all of you for coming together this morning in this fantastic celebration.

Not a day goes by since I began, somewhat less than two months ago-- and actually, it started when-- after my appointment was announced in August-- but literally, not a day has gone by when I have not been astounded, impressed, inspired, by MIT students. And this morning I just want to thank Sarah and Jonathan again for incredibly moving and deeply intelligent comment. So thank you both, very, very much.

So as a relative newcomer to the MIT community, I want to start by saying how impressed I am that this is the Institute's 31st annual celebration of Dr. King's life and legacy. This is a remarkably long-standing tradition. And like many of the things I found at MIT, a fantastic surprise, and reflective of a very deep insight, and very deep sensitivity, to the issues that matter in today's world.

As we all go through our very busy lives, it's very easy to become complacent, and to neglect seemingly intractable social and political issues in favor of the more pressing and immediate concerns. Today's event is one important way that we can regularly sharpen our focus on the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr.

This morning we owe particular thanks to Professor Michael Feld and Dean Leo Osgood, and their colleagues on the organizing committee, for their work on this event. Because in bringing the MIT community together each year, this breakfast asks us to renew our commitment to the values Dr. King articulated, and that he exemplified, in his own life and work.

This morning, in short, reminds us that it is our collective responsibility to meet the need for a more just, and a more inclusive, society. Of course, no single person or no single organization alone can promote justice and equality successfully by working in isolation. Difficult social and political issues require a spirit of collaboration and a willingness to cooperate across institutional boundaries. So I'm particularly pleased that we're joined today by city counselor and former mayor, Ken Reeves, who has been-- and I commit to being-- an ongoing partner in our work. Where is Ken, please?

So this morning I would like to suggest that MIT-- even though we cannot work in isolation-- has a special responsibility to meet the challenge of creating a more diverse, and more supportive, community. That's not to say that any other institution can feel free to abdicate its moral responsibilities. This is, of course, an issue for every institution and for every individual in our society.

But MIT is different, and every day I find a new way in which MIT is different, and special. And we are different from other educational institutions in ways that make these particular questions that today brings focus to, especially salient for us. Here, I want to point to two things in particular.

First, the Institute has long served as a tremendous engine of opportunity for social achievement. We have a long history of educating students who have not had the advantages of wealth and status-- students who then have gone on to change the world, as leaders in science and technology, in business, and in public service. If we are to keep that tradition alive-- and we would hope to extend it even further-- we cannot ignore any part of our population. We must recruit a diverse student body, opening MIT to anyone who can benefit from the tremendous opportunities that are available here.

As I said when I met the MIT community for the first time in August, and as I still believe-- and I am sure, I will continue to believe-- I want MIT to be the dream of every child who wants to make the world a better place. We must be equally open when it comes to our faculty and staff. America and the world have benefited enormously from MIT's willingness, during and after the second world war, to hire teachers and scholars from many nations, and from groups that had been denied full membership in a restrictive academy. As we look to the future, we need to keep the lesson of that history in mind.

This leads directly to the second reason I think true equality is so important for us. MIT is a great meritocracy. As I talked to the members of the Institute Community during the search process and the transition period, this core value-- the great meritocracy-- came up again and again. People of the Institute feel passionately that this is one of our core values, and one of our greatest strengths. It's one of the things that make them proudest about being part of MIT, and make me proudest about having joined this community.

But we cannot rest on our laurels, or on values that we say we believe-- we hold-- and assume that we've gotten it right once and for all. As we evaluate people for possible membership in the MIT community, and evaluate their performance once they're here, we need constantly to ask, are we really looking at merit?

Social science research has demonstrated very powerfully how unconscious assumptions can affect our judgment of people and their performance. If our aspiration is for MIT to be the great meritocracy in America in higher education-- and I believe it can be-- we have to understand how to free our judgments from unconscious preconceptions. We expect the best at MIT, but we have to make sure we can recognize it.

It is essential that MIT is-- and just as important, is seen as-- a welcoming and supportive place for anyone, from any background, who has the talent and passion to make the most of what the Institute has to offer. This is what is right, and is what our traditions tell us to do. And it will strengthen education and research for everybody here, and for everybody around the world.

I'm reminded of an anecdote from the late 1960s, when institutions like my previous one began to admit women for the first time. There's a story from one of the women who was among the first at one of these Ivy League universities. Remembers vividly, when in response to a question she asked in class, her professor said to her-- with absolute delight-- no one has ever asked me that question before. Bringing new voices to the table changes the conversation.

MIT, of all institutions, must remember that innovation comes when we bring new perspectives to bear on existing problems. By pointing to the challenges we face, I don't intend to slight the great steps this Institution has taken to enhance and sustain the diversity of its community. Our student body is unusually diverse by the standards of any of our peer institutions. Our faculty and staff include exceptional individuals from every possible background. And we have made tremendous progress with respect to women's issues.

But I suspect that you will agree with me that there is still much more that needs to be done. In particular, we have a long way to go before we can be satisfied that we have done all we can to create a diverse graduate student body and a diverse faculty. Nonetheless, as I look at the remarkable people gathered here in this room this morning, I see great strength and great potential, and a very good place from which to begin the next leg of our journey together.

Making progress on that journey will require strong faculty participation, because-- as an educational institution-- we are defined by our faculty. And I know that our faculty will not let MIT down.

Last May, the faculty made a public commitment to take a leadership position among our peer institutions in the recruitment and the academic success of underrepresented minority faculty and graduate students. And coming in after that resolution was passed, I am enormously grateful to the faculty for its leadership on this issue. The provost, the chancellor, the deans, and I, all look forward to working with the faculty to take the steps necessary to meet this goal.

Now, I beg your forgiveness as I close with reflections on a somewhat more personal note. It is truly a tremendous honor for me to stand among you here this morning. The presidency of this unique institution is a great privilege, and like any privilege, it carries with it tremendous responsibility.

As a woman, I know that I have benefited from the pioneers who blazed the trail for the women of my generation, opening doors to education and careers that had long been closed. As president of MIT, I know that one of my most important responsibilities is to ensure that others have the sort of opportunity that has brought me here. And I hope that in the years ahead, we can all work together to bring Dr. King's dream to life. Thank you all very much for joining us this morning. Thank you.

Now it gives me great pleasure to introduce the person who-- at least, I have been just excited to hear from since I first learned that she was going to be our guest at this morning's event. Gwen Ifill, you all know. She is one of the most highly respected journalists in Washington, with deep experience in both print and broadcast media.

We all know, this is not an easy field. And Gwen Ifill has climbed the ladder to a position of international renown, deliberately and successfully, in ways that all of us can admire. She's been a reporter for a number of major newspapers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. And she served for five years as chief congressional and political correspondent for NBC News, when she covered politics for the NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, the Today Show, Meet the Press, and MSNBC.

Today, Gwen Ifill holds two major positions in political journalism. She's moderator and managing editor of Washington Week-- a show many of us have been watching since we were children-- the longest running public affairs program on public television. And she is also senior correspondent for the News Hour with Jim Lehrer.

One measure of Gwen Ifill's standing in her field is she is frequently asked to moderate debates in national elections. Most recently, we had the pleasure of watching her in last year's vice presidential debate. She serves on the board of Harvard University's Institute of Politics, and the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism, and she has received numerous honorary degrees in recognition of her contributions to political journalism.

Gwen Ifill grew up in New York City, and now lives in Washington DC, but she has close ties to our area as well. She's a graduate of Simmons College in Boston, and works as a reporter for the Boston Herald. We are delighted that she is here with us in Cambridge this morning.

Gwen Ifill's work and experience gave her a unique vantage point on American society and politics. So we look forward to hearing her thoughts on the challenges facing us as we seek to live up to the standards set by Dr. King. Please join me in giving our warmest welcome to Miss Ifill as she joins us at MIT.

IFILL: Thank you. Thank you Dr. Hockfield, even though we don't believe you've been watching Washington Week since you were a child. We'll just let that pass. You're younger than you look, but not that young.

Thank you all for having me. I learned a lot of things already this morning, including that I should be referring to this place as the 'Tute? I'd never thought of it that way.

But I'm very happy to be at the 'Tute, part of my continuing tour of college campuses-- colleges which would have never had admitted me when I was applying for school. In fact, when I think back on it, the closest I ever got to actually getting inside MIT was when I was an undergraduate at Simmons, coming to black student organization parties-- which as I recall, were kind of slamming at the time. We were still doing the bump then. And MIT men were pretty good at it, I'll just say.

But we'll move on. Returning to college campuses always gives me an opportunity to think back over how far I've come. My dancing has improved, for instance. But it also gives me a chance to experience what it's like to never leave a place at all.

I may never have actually attended MIT, but I bet our experiences are not really so different. I have been a black student on a predominantly white college campus, trying to find my way-- like you. I have been a college student, terrified that the college degree that I was staying up so many nights to study for, trying to earn, may not get me the job that I wanted to get. And Lord knows I have given and attended my share of Black History Month Martin Luther King speeches.

I've been at speeches where they tell you about George Washington Carver and the peanut. I have been at speeches where we are exhorted to keep our hope alive. I covered them, in fact, when Jesse Jackson was running for president. And I still have the scars to show for that one. I shouted, I am somebody, even before I was entirely sure who that somebody was. I have since figured that part out.

I have sung "We Shall Overcome" in that great [INAUDIBLE] morning, "I've Been Buked and I've Been Scorned" in gospel choirs. And I have sung the Negro national anthem-- the black national hymn, whatever you want to call it-- countless times. In fact, I learned to gauge the sincerity of the politicians I was covering over time-- especially when they were in black churches making their pitches-- by trying to decide whether they knew all the verses. Bill Clinton knew all the verses, it should be said.

But the words-- god of our silent years-- weary years-- god of our silent tears, that who has brought us so far on the way-- what can I say? I'm a preacher's kid. I learned all the words to all the songs.

But that's what I like about Black History Month, actually. I like the memory triggers-- the opportunity to remember and revel in the things that we don't spend enough time thinking about the rest of the year. Black History Month-- only a month, and a short month at that-- it used to be actually Black History Week, as I recall it as, when I was a child. But I've always been suspicious that they gave us the shortest month of the year.

But you take what you can get. I mean, it takes all 28 days to explain to the generations of young people who were never alive when Martin Luther King, Jr. was, that he is more than just a stamp, or a distant icon. He symbolizes, in many ways, the ideals that I strive to combine in my life-- my life as a professional journalist, and my life as a black American attempting to prosper in a society that often can seem so hostile.

My father-- like every preacher that I ever met growing up, and who was alive in the '60s-- marched with Martin Luther King. That was always the line-- I marched with Martin Luther King. And he taught me very important lessons about what that meant.

He taught me that we had responsibilities to our country, to our people, and to our God. He taught us that if anyone ever hurled the word black at us-- meaning it as it meant in the 60s and early 70s, as an invective-- we should always respond, thank you. Thank you very much. That was when negro was acceptable, and black was not good.

And we were shocked to discover, as kids, that a simple thank you always shut up our detractors. The would-be insult givers were just reduced to silenced by that. And that's before black was beautiful.

But as preachers kids, we had other challenges to meet as well. The expectations were very high. There was always someone watching our behavior from a window.

We were lucky in that way, but I didn't realize that until years later when I saw the havoc that can be wreaked among black people and black families by low expectations. We heard some stories about that already this morning. It's always amazing to me when themes build over the course of a program.

I suspect none of you would be here this morning if it were not for the high expectations that someone had of you, whether it was your parents, whether it was your larger community, guardians-- people who caught a glint, a little bit of a sign, of your possibility. It is the striving for possibility that fueled the ambitions of Harriet Tubman, who did the unthinkable by trying to get slaves free, and Sojourner Truth, who did the unthinkable by considering that maybe women could be equal. A people like Martin Luther King, who saw the possibilities of how equal access and simple justice could transform a nation, to people like my parents who saw how they could apply the lessons they learned from those who preceded them, to make a better life for their children.

Because of those who have gone before, I remain committed to the things these people, and more, taught me were important. It is actually why I am a journalist, and it is how I came to believe that the search for truth and the search for justice are not incompatible. In fact, they are essential if we are to stay true to the hard-earned legacy left to us by Martin Luther King, Jr.

I believe that being born an American of African heritage has always been a challenge. It's easy to focus on the negatives. But those negatives, and the positives that we don't always focus on, forces us to rise to the goals that Dr. King set for us.

It's why, when I was a college student working at my first big summer job at a newspaper right here in Boston, I was able to shrug off the insult of finding a note one day, waiting for me when I arrived at work, that said, nigger go home. It's why I was able to challenge the editors at the newspaper I worked at in Baltimore when they thoughtlessly decided to use a feature picture on page one of young black kids in the back of a truck, eating watermelon, in 1981. It's why I was able to moderate last year's vice presidential debate, and not forget the uniqueness of my role on that stage.

When I asked both men about the rising incidence of HIV infection among African-American women, sadly neither one of them had the ghost of an answer. But their silence spoke volumes to people at home. And imagine my shock and surprise last night to hear the president mention it in the State of the Union speech. So someone was paying attention.

I don't get up every day feeling burdened by race. I feel empowered by it. And even if I didn't, it has been a constant throughout my career. And I'll bet it's been a constant throughout your lives as well.

When I started my first job at the Herald American, the struggles over court-ordered school busing were in full cry. And I was thrust straight from my ivy-covered bubble at Simmons into a city newspaper, where I was forced to cover city riots by phone, because I wasn't going to Southie. Oh no, they weren't paying me enough.

But also I worked in a newsroom, it should be said, with a lot of-- at the time-- really old fashioned white guys with starched white shirts and cigars, who had never seen anything like me before, but adapted to the idea that it was possible-- there was the possibility of excellence, and goodwill, and good cheer, in the face of a young black woman.

When I moved to Baltimore, the racial climate was distinctly different. African-Americans had just gained the majority, and I got to cover what I learned to call tipping point politics. That's when the people who have always been in charge are gradually, painfully, ceding control to the majority. It's happening in Iraq right now.

The mayor and most of the city council in Baltimore was white, but the city's black majority was just beginning to feel its clout. And watching the process of handing over power-- then and now-- has always been fascinating to me. By the time I moved to Washington to work for the Washington Post, covering Prince George's County-- which is in a suburban area right outside of Washington-- it was the same kind of mirror image in that all of a sudden, the county was tipping. And race, and politics, and journalism were always becoming a constant, a leitmotif, throughout my life.

It's certainly not the only thing I covered, but it has always somehow managed-- and race, and change, and how we handle that in this country-- has never been far away from the essential debates that we have in this country. But to me, race, and the discussion of race, is not always about grievance. It is also about opportunity, and it's about pride, and empathy, and humanity-- understanding the value of difference.

It's why, even though I can maintain the journalist's arm's length distance that is required, I can also suffer genuine sorrow and real rage over famine in Africa, and ethnic slaughter in Kosovo-- the death of one man dragged behind a truck, the deaths of thousands on a beautiful Tuesday morning in September, or of hundreds of thousands in a war-torn province in Indonesia. If I stop seeing the humanity in the news, and started seeing only the news, then I would be a failure as a journalist-- and I would be a failure as a human being. I have the great, good, god-given fortune of being able to sit on the front row of history. That's not something I take lightly, because I don't believe for even a minute that I got where I have gotten in my career because of anything that I did by myself.

My life has been divided in two-- the period where my expectations were set for me by my parents, and the time when I began to set the expectations for myself. The first period, with my parents, you have to understand. They were West Indians-- black people who chose to be African-Americans. Thank you.

They taught me a lot of important things about what it means to be a black woman. They taught me that America was a land of opportunity, but that the opportunities are not going to just fall in your lap because they ought to. They convinced me that I could do anything I wanted to do.

So after years of treating Black History Month as little more than an annual ritual, I embrace it now, and I see those faces in front of me when I do. Part of the reason is that when I give speeches like this, I am given the opportunity to talk about how I live, and what I live every day. I live inside my skin and I live outside of it.

Like other black professionals, I keep a foot in at least two worlds-- maybe three or four. One foot in the world of work-- most of my colleagues, bosses, subordinates, are white-- probably always will be. I don't think I have to lose myself in order to function in this world, but there is no question that I suppress a part of myself in order to do that. And I think we all do that in different levels.

But I laugh when people tell me, you know, I just want you to know, I'm color blind. I mean, isn't that funny, when you think about it? Because to me, that just means that they are entirely blind. Why shouldn't they notice my color? What color am I to them, if they're color blind?

That's not a problem for me. I'm proud of being what I am. It is essential. I just don't want to be held back because of it.

Color blindness-- and as we all know, color blindness does not really work. I mean, face it-- it's the first thing people see about you. They want to know if-- do they see blond, blue-eyed-- oh, she's black.

I love it when people ask me-- I ask them to describe so-and-so and they say, oh, he's about six feet tall. He's, you know, he's wearing a blue suit. And they tell me every other distinguishing characteristic except his race. I'm like, is he black? Uh, yeah.

If you asked Venus or Serena or Tiger-- or maybe not Tiger-- but they'll tell you that that's the first thing people see. And if you ask me, I certainly will.

I have my other foot in this other world. Many black folks I know believe, with total certainty, that we all live in a racist society-- one constructed in such a way that we can never catch a break. Every indignity they suffer adds to that rage. I mean, I've certainly experienced these indignities. To this day, it is an open question whether I can get a cab in downtown DC, even if I am wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase on an average day.

Before I went into television, actually, I used to call people up to interview them on the phone. And then I had the satisfaction of watching the shock on their faces when they met me for the first time. You could tell they were biting back the exclamation-- but you didn't sound black. I miss being able to do that. I can't get away with it anymore.

But every year when Black History Month rolls around, I get to give talks like this, and you get to hear them. And you get to hear about, I Have a Dream, and Booker T. Washington-- if you're lucky W. E. B. Dubois. But it only lasts a month, and it would all fade away if we didn't invest more in the songs and in the words-- than just our voices.

The words of Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech are appealing to us as Americans, of course, because dreaming is so much easier than fighting. But we have to dream, and we have to fight, too. My parents taught me that. They dreamed their children would be able to do anything they wanted, and they knew we had to fight to do it.

And even my father, who was an old fashioned male chauvinist, neglected, somehow, to tell my sister and me that there wasn't anything that we could do. How happy Dr. King would be to know that these days, for so many of us, the tough part of the challenge is setting priorities and making choices-- building our careers, living honorable lives, working hard to give our children all the choices they deserve.

How sad he would be to know that for so many of us, those choices are still out of reach. But it's that last choice that I mentioned-- working hard for our children-- that's the one that keeps us up at night. We don't want to knock down walls and break through glass ceilings only to discover our sons and daughters don't want to walk through the doors. They don't want to soar to the next level.

And so many of our sons and daughters buy into these limits that are imposed by race-- or they feel are-- no matter what race they happen to be. I've listened to white friends talk, cautiously, about their race grievances. And I've listened to black friends talk about theirs. And everyone has a point. Everyone has a story like mine to tell.

But if we don't get past these grievances, we will never meet our expectations-- not our parents', and not our own. One of my great concerns is that we don't devote enough time these days to thinking seriously as citizens. There seems to be less reward for issuing a challenge that takes you out of the mainstream, more reward for telling people what they want to hear.

But I do not fear for the republic just yet. That's because occasionally, something breaks through that reminds me that across America, folks in red and blue states-- however you want to look at it-- are actually still having conversations with one another, talking about their lives-- not about Ebonics, but about education, not about OJ's search for the real killer, or Michael Jackson's trial of the century-- but about crime and criminal justice, and whether it's being applied equally-- not about preconceptions, but about the limitations and expectations of race.

I once got a letter from a woman who saw me on Meet the Press. We had done a program about the Million Man March, and she was moved to write me. And she described herself in her letter as a white, middle-aged housewife who experienced culture shock when she was first exposed to discrimination based on race.

She wrote that she generally finds it hard to believe that racism is as widespread now as she is generally led to believe, from watching television news. She said, quote, "We all have our own truths, but some truths are universal. And it is upon those that we must all strive to find common ground, and try to overcome the differences, rather than constantly condemning our entire society as basically degenerate and evil."

I like the tone of this letter. Maybe that's because so many of the emails I get are so much less literate. This letter was reasonable, and it was hopeful. She didn't necessarily believe that racism exists, but she does think there must be a way for us all to get past it, whatever it is, for us to get along.

But how do we get there? How do we get past our preconceptions, our knee-jerk defensiveness, back to the place where we can recapture those expectations? It seems appropriate-- this morning especially-- for us to turn to the words of Dr. King for expectation.

But I'm not going to read to you from the I Have a Dream speech. You'll probably hear that one a lot this month. Instead, I'm going to read to you from a piece of Dr. King's work which actually is excerpted in the cover of your programs, I was happy to see. It rocked me the first time I read it, and has every time since.

It's from his letter from a Birmingham jail, written in 1963 on scraps of paper borrowed from his jailers, while behind bars. Its brilliance lies in words that can be applied to almost every situation. He was writing about race, but listen to the words. He was speaking to anyone who ever had an uphill battle to fight.

These are his words. "For years now, I have heard the word wait. It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This wait has almost always meant never.

We must come to see with one of our distinguished jurists that justice too long delayed is justice denied. We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and god-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jet-like speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter.

Perhaps it was easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say wait. But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will, and drown your sisters and brothers at whim-- when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters-- when you see the vast majority of your 20 million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage, a poverty in the midst of an affluent society.

When you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Fun Town is closed to colored children-- and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people.

When you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking, daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean? When you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you-- when you are humiliated day-in and day-out by nagging signs reading, white, and colored-- when your first name becomes nigger and your middle name becomes boy, however old you are-- and your last name becomes John-- and your wife and mother are never given the respected title Mrs.

When you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro living constantly on tip toe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued by inner fears and outer resentments-- when you are ever fighting a degenerating sense of nobody-ness, then you will understand why we find it so difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair."

It is easy to forget, 40 years later, how stark the choices were at that time, how limited their horizons could be. So many students at all of our nation's colleges now were born long after Martin Luther King was dead, and they understand it only in the abstract.

Now of course, you might say, things are different. We can go to the amusement park if we want to. We can eat at any lunch corner we want. There are so many things that we no longer have to wait for.

But if that's all you hear in Dr. King's words, you are missing the point. He is making the case for expectation. We should expect to be treated as equal citizens. Our children should not expect to be inferior. We should all expect that anything is achievable-- if not now, then soon.

I got into journalism because I thought that at some level, that I could change the world-- that I could shine some light into dark corners, that I could break down a few barriers. The barriers are still there. The corners are still dark sometimes. And I've discovered the world is often still resistant to change.

But shining that light with a flashlight that Dr. King gave us-- that light of justice, the light of understanding-- into the world, that can be tremendously satisfying. I wish for you that satisfaction. Thank you very much for having me.

QUINLAN: Everyone please join me once again in thanking Miss Gwen Infill for her heartfelt words. Thank you.

I would now like to ask Provost Robert A. Brown to recognize the 2004, 2005 Martin Luther King visitor professors.

BROWN: As you might notice, there's attrition occurring in our ranks. For those of you who don't spend many hours in our community, you'll know that teaching really begins at 10:00. There are some 9 o'clock classes, but not many.

It's a pleasure to have a few moments to describe the Martin Luther King, Jr. visiting professor program. It was founded in 1995 at MIT to bring outstanding black and Hispanic scholars to our community, to enrich the diversity of the academic staff. The program has sponsored visiting faculty across the five schools at the Institute, with candidates nominated by the faculty, and then join their departments during their stay here.

The candidates participate in teaching and research, in interacting with the faculty with undergraduate and graduate students. Essentially this morning we have five MLK visiting professors and scholars that were with us. Some of them have gone off to practice their honorable profession.

I will introduce each one and I'll ask the two that remain to stand. First is Professor Daniel Byrd. Professor Byrd is an MLK visiting assistant professor in the Sloan School of Management, visiting from Stanford University. He received his BS in chemical engineering from Northwestern, and his master's and PhD in business administration and philosophy from Harvard.

Professor Byrd's research interests include learning implications of inner organizational structures, and competitive interaction networks, and knowledge flows. He just left to teach his class.

Second is Dr. Alethia Jones. Alethia, will you please stand? Thank you.

Dr. Jones is a visiting scholar in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and will join the faculty of the Department of Public Administration and Policy at SUNY Albany at the end of her stay here. She received her BA in urban studies at Columbia in 1991, and a PhD from Yale in political science.

Her dissertation examined how informal immigration banking policies are politicized by community banking movements. She's a recipient of numerous award. And one of the most interesting things is, prior to attending Yale, she held the Choral Fellowship in Public Affairs, and worked on transportation, health, and housing policy, for the city of New York-- New York City Council. Alethia, welcome.

Actually, an old friend of MIT professor Anthony Joseph, who also just left to teach, is with us. Professor Joseph is visiting in the computer science in AI laboratory CSAIL, in the Department of Electrical Engineering of Computer Science. He's come back to MIT.

He received his BS and SM degrees from EECS, and his PhD in computer science from MIT. After leaving MIT, he joined the University of California Berkeley faculty, and has been teaching there since. He's received numerous honors, including a Nokia visiting research fellowship, a National Science Foundation career award, and an IBM corporate graduate fellowship. Dr. Anthony will be with us for the year.

Next is Professor Koffi Maglo. Koffi, please stand.


Professor Maglo is visiting in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy from the University of Cincinnati. He received two BAs-- one in philosophy, and the other an education, from the University of Benin in Togo, as well as two MAs-- one in philosophy, and the other in education, from the University of Burgundy France. He also received a PhD in philosophy from the University of Burgundy.

His areas of specialization include contemporary philosophy of science, the history of modern physics, Newton science and Newtonian mechanics, and the history of modern philosophy and metaphysics. He's teaching a class in the philosophy of science this term? Correct. Welcome.

And finally is Miss Patricia Powell. Patricia is visiting in the program in Writing and Humanistic Studies at MIT. She received her MFA from Brown University in creative writing and fiction, and her BA from Wellesley College, in Boston.

Ms. Powell is a distinguished writer of fiction. She is the author of three widely-reviewed novels, numerous short pieces, and is currently finishing her fourth novel at MIT. She's an experienced teacher, and has worked extensively with students on creative writing at Harvard University, at the University of Massachusetts, before coming to MIT.

Her focus is on Caribbean American culture. And this is adding a neat a unique element to our writing program during her stay. Patricia couldn't be with us today. Would we please welcome again, all these five distinguished people to MIT?

QUINLAN: We will now have the MIT gospel choir lead us in singing the black national anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, by James Weldon Johnson. We ask that you join and sing with the choir. We won't judge you if you don't know the lyrics, because luckily they're on the back of your programs this morning. And please stand as the song is sung. Thank you.


Lift every voice and sing, till earth and heaven ring. Ring with the harmonies of liberty. Let our rejoicings rise, high as the listening skies. Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song, full of the hope that the present has brought us. Sing a song, full of the hope that the present has brought us. Facing the rising sun of the day begun. Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod, felt in the days when hope unborn had died. Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet, come to the place on which our fathers sighed.

We have come over a way that with tears has been watered. We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered. Out of the gloomy past, till now we stand at last. Where the white gleam of our bright star, is cast.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far on our way. Thou who has by thy might, led us into the light. Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places our God where we met thee. Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world we forget thee.

Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand, true to our God, true to our native land.

QUINLAN: Now I would like to invite city councilman Reeves to the stage.

REEVES: Good morning, everyone. You know, I've never seen that breakfast. So it's good to see who comes to breakfast. And this was a breakfast I had to attend, because all of my inspirations are here this morning.

You missed her, but this novelist, Patricia Powell, is brilliant. And I'm now reading her book, A Gathering of Small Bones. She's a Jamaican, and I'm a Jamaican, and I'm really excited that you have her here. So bravo, MIT.

President Hockfield, you have hit the ground running, and you'll do very well. And the city and the citizens are very, very happy, happy, happy to have you amongst us. I want to thank you and Gwen Ifill for assuring us that our mission here this morning is to change the world, and make it a better place to live.

I, like you, Gwen, attended my share of the I Have a Dream breakfasts. And you have managed to break out of the box of the speeches. So it was magnificent and inspiring.

I leave you with two quick thoughts, and then I have a little presentation. You know, this holiday means nothing if the world isn't made a better place. And today there are two people in this room who are doing that. We leave this breakfast to an America where 50% of the black men in major urban centers are unemployed, and one in three of black gay men in major urban centers are HIV positive. So if you don't think there are challenges for us to meet outside, ponder those two statistics, a lot.

With me this morning is a magnificent friend of mine from Los Angeles. He is America's foremost African-American AIDS activist. I would like you to say hello to Phill Wilson from Los Angeles. Phill?

Now Gwen, all this is really about you, so could you please come up? I have had the great pleasure-- Gwen Ifill has had some Cambridge time. When I was a few years younger, she was a member with me at St. Paul AME Church.

And I have watched her career. And I must say, you make the news real for me. And unless you say it, I don't believe it. When you were no longer with--

IFILL: What can I make up?

REEVES: When you are no longer at NBC in the White House, I didn't believe anybody else. You have brought intelligence, integrity, excitement, truth, to the news. So you go, girl. And know that we are out there. Whenever your face is on the camera, and I'm in the house, and TV is on, I'm glued to it because you are my representative in the middle of the fray, making sure that truth and power are connected. And I could not be more pleased. And I would get up and come to breakfast for you.

You know, I get so tired sometimes of reflecting on Martin Luther King's dream. But I must say that you are evidence of the fruition of a part of that dream. So thank you for being that. I offer you the city's proclamation welcoming you. And in addition, when we have special esteemed-- now you said you're a West Indian. Which India-- which island are you?


REEVES: Barbados, uh oh.

IFILL: We don't do no Jamaica.

REEVES: This is a internal joke. I'm not going to tell you.


The Barbadians have the highest literacy in the world-- 98%. Bless them. You see.

On behalf of the people of Cambridge in this People's Republic, I give you the key to the city and our hearts. And we have lots of Barbadians.

QUINLAN: We will now continue with some announcements relevant to today's celebration. I would like to announce that the Martin Luther King committee presents the Dr. Martin Luther King installation, located in Lobby 10, designed and constructed by the Martin Luther King, Jr. IEP seminar. Please make sure, if you haven't seen it already, that you sat by Lobby 10 and see. It's very informative and inspirational.

They also produced the booklets of information that all of you have on your seats. And this was dedicated to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now I'd like to ask Reverend Amy McCreath to come forward to give the benediction to close this morning's program.

MCCREATH: Good morning. The word benediction means blessing. And I think you'll agree with me that we've already been blessed many times over this morning. So let me offer a final benediction to end this time together. Would you please rise?

Live without fear. Your creator loves you, and has called and empowered you to do justice, to make peace, and to transform this world. Let us go forth from this place with courage, with hope, and with great resolve-- and most importantly, with joy. Let the people say amen. Amen.