In a celebration marking Martin Luther King Day, the Davis & Elkins College community and guests were challenged to examine their lives. Dr. Julius Bailey, a philosopher, professor and author, gave the keynote address highlighting King’s place in history that opened the door to broader community efforts and applied his vision to our world today.

Citing lyrics from the Bee Gee’s hit song “How Deep Is Your Love,” Bailey encouraged those in attendance to explore the love they have for one another beyond a superficial nature.

“You need to ask yourself, how deep does your love go? What type of a life are you going to share?,” Bailey asked.

Quoting King’s speech “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life,” also known as “the street sweeper speech,” Bailey reminded each one in the group to strive to be their best.

“You’re not just at a small school in a small town. That’s too compartmentalized,” Bailey said. “What King tells us is wherever you are, be the best you can be.”

A professor of philosophy at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, Bailey also serves as chairperson of the Philosophy and Religion Department and director of Pre-Law and Justice, Law and Public Policy. He is the author of five books including the award-winning “Racial Realities and Post-Racial Dreams: The Age of Obama and Beyond.”

In introducing Bailey, D&E President Chris A. Wood also talked of the power of community to uplift and strengthen, describing King’s vision as transformative.

“Dr. King envisioned the ‘Beloved Community’ as a society based on justice, equal opportunity and love of one’s fellow human beings,” Wood said. “King said the end is reconciliation, the end is redemption, the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. It is this spirit that seeks transformed hearts and minds as our end goal.”

The ceremony also included a proclamation reading by Elkins City Clerk Jessica Sutton commemorating the 37th anniversary of the holiday and designating the week of Jan. 15 as M.L.K. Jr. Week of Service.

The events at D&E in recognition of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday were sponsored by the President’s Initiative on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion which was launched in 2020 with a pledge to listen, learn and act intentionally to uphold the D&E institutional values and mission of “thoughtful engagement in the world,” “act(ing) responsibly as citizens of multiple communities,” and valuing “human dignity and social responsibility.” Stressing an openness and mutual respect for all within the D&E community, the initiative included multiple sessions of professional development, student workshops and public programming.

Dr. Julius Bailey speaking at Davis & Elkins College.

Speaking at the Martin Luther King Day celebration at Davis & Elkins College, Dr. Julius Bailey encourages attendees to examine the depth of love they have for fellow human beings.

Elkins City Clerk Jessica Sutton

Elkins City Clerk Jessica Sutton reads a proclamation designating the week of Jan. 15 as M.L.K. Jr. Week of Service.