By Robert W. Dalton

Some important conversations will take place on Monday, Jan. 17, as Wofford College celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Dr. Dwain Pruitt ’95, chief equity officer, hopes people will listen as well as speak.

“Lots of people voiced opinions on social justice and how history should be remembered and taught in our nation, local communities and college campuses,” Pruitt says. “We want to get folks to hear one another and have civil conversations and exposure to views that might challenge their personal thinking. We simply want people to be in the same room and to hear one another.”

Potential inclement weather has led the college to schedule two of the day’s events for Zoom.

The college’s theme for the day is “The Beloved Community.” The events are sponsored by Dr. George Tyson ’72 and the Tyson Symposium on Race and Justice.

Pruitt will moderate “What’s in a Name? History and Memory at Wofford College,” which will include faculty from various departments and perspectives at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 17. Register for the Zoom webinar.

“We need to have a conversation about the college’s history and how we understand it,” Pruitt says. “I think there are lots of people who have opinions and ideas, but we want to create an informed conversation. We want to acknowledge the fact that there are national conversations about people who owned slaves or engaged in behaviors we now find objectional and whether those people should be honored.”

The Beloved Community WoffordX Talks will be held at 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 17. Register for the Zoom webinar. Members of our community, including students, alumni and a professor emeritus, will give a series of talks based on the ideal of Dr. King's beloved community and how it applies to Wofford College.

Pruitt says the goal of the day is to make progress on moving the college forward.

“We want to start moving beyond contention and toward community, with the understanding that we will always have areas of disagreement and conflicting concerns,” Pruitt says. “Part of learning is growth and change. That’s a process that can take five minutes or five years, so we have to be patient with that transformative process.”

Other events that were planned for the day will be rescheduled for later dates.