Cablegate: Dynamic Mlk Day Event Draws 250 in Lagos
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS LAGOS 000147
STATE FOR AF/PDPA, AF/W, ECA/A/E/AF, IIP/G/AF
ABUJA CHARGE, ADCM, CPAO Acting, CAO
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OEXC SCUL NI
SUBJECT: DYNAMIC MLK DAY EVENT DRAWS 250 IN LAGOS
1. (U) SUMMARY: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK)
celebration in Lagos, Nigeria, drew over 250 people as
well as local press to share an evening of speeches,
artwork and music in commemoration of the late civil
rights leader. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) The program, which featured U.S. speaker Dr.
Walter E. Fluker, focused on the theme of 'successes'
and the application of legal civil rights victories in
today's society. These victories included the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965,
reflections on Brown v. the Board of Education 1954
(Topeka, KS), as well as civil actions that supported
the passage of these landmark public policy victories.
3. (U) Dr. Fluker, who delivered a powerful speech on
the need for moral leadership in developing society,
was interrupted several times by applause as he drew a
nexus between Nigeria's drive for civil rights and the
struggle for equality in the United States. Other
notable speakers included the Charg for the U.S.
Mission to Nigeria, Rick L. Roberts and Lagos Consul
General Robyn Hinson-Jones.
4. (U) Upon entering the event, guests viewed a paper
show highlighting prominent African-Americans. The
paper show featured Dr. King - as guests celebrated his
legacy on the eve of the 75th Anniversary of his birth.
5. (U) As the program commenced, we played audio
vignettes of famous Dr. King speeches culminating in
his passionate 'mountaintop' address shortly before his
assassination. Guests, including international
diplomats, Lagos business and political leaders, U.S.
Consulate General personnel, local school
administrators and the local media, later remarked on
the effectiveness of this technique as an attention
grabbing method to start the program.
6. (U) In an effort to support the local arts and bring
a new dynamic to the MLK Day celebration, the U.S.
Consulate General, Lagos, commissioned a string art
portrait of Dr. King which was officially unveiled at
the start of the program. The 4x4 piece of artwork,
which garnered positive feedback from the audience,
will be housed at the Lagos Public Affairs section but
will also be utilized as part of African American
History Month planning and programs.
7. (U) Other program highlights included the appearance
of well-known Nigerian Jazz singer Yinka Davies, who
performed a rousing rendition of "This Little Light of
Mine' for the event. In addition to Davies, a local
accapella group called The Pillars performed 'We Shall
Overcome" in English, Housa, Yoruba and Igbo.
8. (U) At the conclusion of the program, guests were
invited to socialize on the lawn of the Consul
General's residence, where refreshments were served.
9. (U) New to this year's program was the distribution
of event evaluation forms. Over 70 guests (almost 30
percent of the total) completed all or part of the
forms that will be used as a measuring tool to measure
our effectiveness. Additionally, the forms will enable
more in-depth reporting to the Department of State on
the effectiveness of Public Diplomacy Programming in
10. (U) Result: Outstanding. While press reports and
assessment of media coverage is ongoing, this event was
warmly received by those who attended. The
presentations and speeches were strengthened by the
powerful oratory of Dr. Walter E. Fluker, who expressed
his interest to the Cultural Affairs Officer in
returning to Nigeria at a future date. Guests were
provided with new info-packs about Dr. King and the
U.S. Civil Rights movement as they exited the venue,
and those who took time to complete the event
evaluation form also received a copy of Dr. King's
famous "American Dream" speech.