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AlumNews: Talon Articles

King’s mighty dream

Monday, January 28, 2008  
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By Joshua Bam

On Monday of this week, I sat in my afternoon class and let myself wonder at the history that surrounded such a monumental day.

I wondered whether Oklahoma Christian University knew of the feats that Martin Luther King Jr. had accomplished in his life, and why they weren’t taking the day to celebrate a man who changed the country.

This past Monday America celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. just after his January 15 birthday.

The holiday was observed throughout the country as mail halted, schools and banks were closed and students at Oklahoma Christian attended classes as usual.

In 1983, after nearly 15 years of continued pressure, congress passed a bill, signed by Ronald Reagan, and created a federal holiday on the third Monday of January in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

The holiday was only celebrated officially in 1986 though, and wasn’t well received by everyone.

Martin Luther King day gathered resistance from states who insisted that the entire civil rights movement should be celebrated as opposed to just one man.

Arizona wouldn’t recognize the holiday until a tourist boycott in 1992 which pushed voters to approve the national holiday.

New Hampshire didn’t celebrate the holiday until 1999 when they changed their states Civil Rights Day into Martin Luther King Day.

King, who worked as a Baptist minister at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Alabama, began his push into civil rights by leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955.

The boycott lasted 382 days before the Supreme Court decided that segregation on buses was unconstitutional. This was the beginning of King’s dream.

Before his assassination in 1968, King was one of the youngest men to receive a Nobel Prize at the age of 35.

The holiday is observed in most schools and businesses just before Black History Month starts in February.

Sometimes, in my avid curiosity, I wonder who started Black History Month and why? If you’ve ever wonder this too, let me explain.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson, after a rough upbringing in the coal mines in Kentucky, graduated from Harvard after earning his Ph. D. only to find that in his history studies, many books ignored the black American population.

So Woodson took on the challenge of writing black Americans into American history.

He also established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915, and a year later founded the journal of Negro History.

In 1926, Woodson took initiative and began to call national attention to contributions of black Americans when he launched Negro History Week later becoming Black History Month.

February celebrates Malcolm X, W. E. B. Dubois, and the constitutional progress for civil rights acts like the 15th Amendment.

America still has a long way to go when it comes to civil rights and racism.

Racism still exists in most of the country. It’s even played a role in the Democratic Primaries.

America isn’t too far behind in the war on racism, but we have a long way to go. I think we’re working on it though...right?

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