Leaving a legacy


Teuana Smith

Merla Carter, Michael Ankton, and Christina Murphy standing in front of their service project: MLK Jr. Mural

Three students this semester have created a service project to have a mural of the legendary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. painted in the Peake Rosenwald Early Childcare Center. Michael Ankton, Christina Murphy, and Merla Carter are all working for Americorps Future Teacher initiative and provide a number of service community projects to strengthen the childcare center and the community. Ankton recruited both Murphy and Carter to help achieve this goal.


“I absolutely love watching the children grow everyday and helping them prepare for Kindergarten,” Merla Carter, junior early education major, said.


In honor of MLK Day of Service, the students devised a plan for the school’s multi-purpose room to be named with a mural after him. Upon the approval of the project, they united with Arkadelphia Public Schools, Dawson Co-op, Seark Co-op, the Peake Alumni Foundation and Henderson State University Kappa Phi Art Club to bring this idea to life. This place was chosen as a staple for this project due to it being a historically black school.


“I love the relationship I have developed with the kids over time and just knowing that they see me as a loving authority figure,” Christina Murphy, junior psychology major, said.


The mural was revealed on Jan. 22 to many of Arkadelphia’s community members and associates of the sponsors. During the presentation, Murphy gave the welcome and purpose behind the event. Ankton followed with the history of King to educate the audience. Lastly, Carter read a book about King’s life to the children.


“I love the impact that I have as a African American male in this position for the boys and girls who look up to me because it’s not many of us to influence them,” Michael Ankton, sophomore social science major, said.