Meredith College Student Newspaper /
Jan. 20, 1993, edition 1 /
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page three January 20,1993
Students debate emphasis of King holiday
On January 18, our nation (and probably many other nations) recognized
and celebrated the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. On this particular
day, we paid homage to a martyr who fougltt tirelessly for the equality and
togetherness of all people. This seems to me a most disheartening reality of
America’s recognition of the struggle for civil rights.
Someday, Americans will have to recognize (he King holiday for what
it truly is. The lioliday signifies the battle for civil rights that was fought by
millions of Americans throughout
There are two ways that Ameri
cans can celebrate the successes of
the civil rights movement. Ameri
cans must first rcmcber that Dr.
King’s loud cries for equality and
justice would not have been heard
if others had not committed their
lives to the movement. We have to
remember Reverend MartinLuther
King, Sr., whcffought for civil rights
before his son was even born. We must remember that Malcom X and Marcus
Garvey sought to renew faith and pride in a race that had known nothing but
oppression for hundreds of years. We have to notice the writings of Nikki
Giovanni, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, and Maya Angelou, who risked
their careers to denounce the horrible treatment and discrimination that
minorites and women faced and still face today. Jesse Jackson, Douglass
Wilder, Shirley Chisholm, and Carol Mosley Braun are recent and current
examples of the obstacles overcome for minorities and women in the political
realm. Don’t forget the sodspoken Rosa Parks whose refusal to submit to Jim
Crow laws made her a symbol of equality.
Secondly, the recognition of the triumi^ and tribulations of civil rights
advocates can not be limited to annual ceremonial programs.. Instead, they
should be remembered every day of our Hves. After all, they fought for the
things we take for granted today. In tlie 1950’s thousands of people walked
various distances to avoid riding ttie bus in the 381-day Montgomery Bus
BoycoU. People of all ages suffered humiliation and lost their lives to eat in
nice restaurants, to drink from water fountains, and to vote in elections. Also
remember that there wouln’t be a Hope Murdock, a K^crine Ku, a Nadia Ali
or a Neasha Bryant attending Meredith College if not for the sacrifices made
in the Civil Rights Movement.
Can we fathom dying for the prosperity of future generations? Can we
imagine being denied our basic rights because of our race, religious back
ground, or gender? No... we’ll never be able to imagine participating in tlie
turbulent struggle for civil rights. Therefore, we owe some recognition and
appreciation to those who did every day of their lives.
When we think of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his birthday, we
remember events like the bus boycott in Mongomery, Alabama, the March on
Washi ngton and the famous”! Have a Dream” speech among other things. The
key to whatever memory we may have is the man behind it. Dr. Martin Luther
King. He serves as the father of the CivD Rights Movement of thel960s in most
people’s minds. He stood for such ideals as peace, equality and brotherhood,
some of the same ideals that motivated the movement as a whole.
Many Americans, both Afri
can-American and white, respect
and admire Dr. King namely for
his message. Those who watched
and listened to him could not help
but be drawn to his masterful voice
andhisassertive.manner. His mes
sage of non-violence probably cre
ated so much appeal from the
American public. People were fa
miliar with the ugliness of the
movement — how African-
Americans were brutalized in the streets and how seemingly respectable
citizens behaved in ways that disgusted and embarrassed society. What
intrigued many pe^le was Dr. King’s ai^oach. It was through methodical,
rational, and legal means that Dr, King encouraged America to respond to
crisis. He made itapriority to remain withinthe system in the pursuit of equality
in this country so that all people could enjoy the benefits and oj^rtunities
entitled to them by birthright.
Today Dr. King serves as a symbol to all Americans. He is an inspiration
to many because of his ideals and his dedication to those ideals. We see Dr. King
as unique because at a time when this Country suffered violent, miserable
circumstances, he found a way to see beyond emotion and to think of a way to
improve his world. For all of Dr. MartinLuther King’sefforts, we who continue
to embrace his memory are eternally grateful.
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starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman
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