Manchester Magazine Fall 2017 - Page 15

MU| F e a t u r e s ‘It remains in my being’ W hen Sue Wells ’70 Livers got the call from Blair Helman, she thought her friend Myron Chenault ’71 was playing a joke on her. She was not amused. When Livers realized that Manchester’s president really was inviting her to lunch with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the day turned “surreal.” The charismatic leader of the civil rights movement had defied Jim Crow and inspired Americans who believed in racial equality to stand up for it. For the sophomore who had attended a segregated grade school, meeting Dr. King was the chance of a lifetime. The next day, Feb. 1, 1968, Livers packed into the auditorium with other Manchester students to hear King speak on “The Future of Integration.” At lunch she joined a select group of students that included Chenault, Jo Young ’69 Switzer, Steve Stone ’69, and Keith Matthews ’71. Livers was so nervous, she says, “I don’t remember if I ate or not.” She does remember the man, though, and how genuine he was. “He was a people’s person and it showed. He was a good person and that showed. He blessed the food and he was so sincere.” The late 1960s were turbulent years in America, and Manchester was not immune. Livers was one of only a few African- Americans at Manchester then, the only one in her class. She did not always feel welcome in her own residence hall let alone the North Manchester community where, she says, African students were treated better than African-American students. She navigated those struggles by keeping her eyes on the prize – for her, an education. Livers made the most of that opportunity, earning a master’s degree at the University of Louisville and working at King’s Daughter’s Hospital in her hometown of Madison, Ind., first as director of nutrition services, then as director of the hospital’s foundation. She studied philanthropy at Indiana University and raised money to help build a new cancer center before retiring in 2015. “I was just happy to go to college,” she recalls. “If you didn’t