CWR Student’s Forum
The Dream, The Life, The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Ashely Starling Williams
CWR Student Correspondent from Florida A&M University
King’s death has long succeeded the 39 extraordinary years of his life that he spent fighting injustice and equality for all. His name extends from almost every city in the country on street signs and schools that are usually always located within the African-American communities. But now he has reached far beyond the black neighborhoods and into a monumental memorial that will be built in Washington, DC. The King Memorial will be landscaped with elements that convey the four essential and persistent themes throughout Dr. King’s message: a message of justice for all, democracy for the people, hope for the oppressed and agape love.
King was a virtuous leader that proved to a nation that prejudice and racism was unjust and opted for us to live in non-violence. Intelligent beyond his years, King made it possible for African Americans like me to have the chance to go to college and gain the opportunity for a better life; free from violence and oppression. He broke down the traditional black stereotypes by always being punctual, dressed very well and took his academia seriously. At 33, he was pressing the case of civil rights with President John Kennedy. At 34, he moved the nation with his “I Have a Dream” speech and at 35 he was the youngest man to win the Nobel Peace Prize. This memorial will pay homage to a man that fought his whole adult life for civil rights and give inspiration for future generations to be involved in the movement and become a part of his dream.
Mia Jones, 22, biology student at Florida A&M University said she is extremely excited and will definitely be paying a visit to the memorial once construction is complete.
“I would not be right here right now if it had not been for the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King,” Jones said.
“He left a legacy of hope and inspiration that continues today and even though we are well past segregation we are still fighting for justice and equal rights, it might be 2011 but Dr. King’s dream has not transpired completely just yet,” said Jones. “We still as a people have work when it comes to keeping his dream alive but this memorial is a vast step in the right direction.”
Stacey August, 26, teacher at Hodges Middle School in D.C. makes sure her students know who Dr. King was and what he stood for.
“It is mandatory in my classroom for my students to know about the life and accomplishments of Dr. King. He made education possible for every race,” said August.
“I can’t even explain how excited I am to be able to take my students to see this memorial, its proof that our struggle as African-Americans was not in vein and that King’s death wasn’t either.”
According to the website buildthedream.org the construction of the main entrance through the crescent-shaped inscription wall is aligned along the axis of the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, which will place this memorial directly in line with the larger democratic ideals that formed the background for King’s words and actions. It will be a reflection of the footprints that he laid in society.
The King Memorial is proposed to help transform its visitors and build a sense of commitment to the promise of positive change and active citizenship that Dr. King so prevalently relayed in his message.
Nearly three decades after his death, King is still regarded as one of the most influential people in the world. He left behind a legacy that will forever hold a place in the history of the United States and the forward progression of African Americans since the time of segregation. The King Memorial will represent Dr. King’s life and legacy reflecting the courage of the movement and the role he played in breaking down racial barriers in society.