Beyond the Dream

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By Lois Traub West, Director of Civic Engagement

Today’s middle school Encuentro speaker was Sozi Tulante (above left), a Lecturer in Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. When Sozi arrived in the United States as an 8-year-old from what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, he knew of three Americans: Martin Luther King, Michael Jackson, and Ronald Reagan!

Sozi shared his high regard of MLK in a presentation entitled “Martin Luther King: Beyond the Dream.” The title of his talk reflects his concern that MLK’s legacy and impact are portrayed in a very limited manner. People mostly know him for his eloquent and inspirational “I Have A Dream Speech” at the March on Washington. And they know that he was assassinated.

Sozi focused on MLK’s intellectualism, his activism, his radicalism, and his sacrifice. Students learned about his attention to issues of economic inequality and his opposition to the Vietnam War. Said Brian Johnson, TPS Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (above right), “It is important that students have a better idea who MLK actually was beyond the dream.”

(Prior to joining the faculty of Penn Law, Sozi was Philadelphia’s City Solicitor.)