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Dr. King legacy lives on fifty years past

Submitted by Hillary Perkins on January 29, 2014 – 12:12 pmNo Comment

It has been almost fifty years since the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., and his legacy is still going strong.

Illustration by Byron Buslig

The university celebrated the civil rights icon during “MLK Week” from Jan. 20 to Jan. 22. The events included volunteers at several non-profit organizations in Little Rock, a diversity workshop, and a blue jean drive.

“The main [idea] for me is to keep hearts in mind for those who benefited from his legacy,” said Tamisha Cheatham, Project Coordinator of the Institute on Race and Ethnicity.

Michael Twyman is the director of the Institute on Race and Ethnicity. He said that Martin Luther King, Jr. has had a huge impact on community services because of the reflection of his contributions to making this world a better place. Twyman said that he cannot name an individual in his office on whom Dr. King had not made an impact.

“His legacy was a great voice of many,” said Kara Brown, Diversity Programs Coordinator.

According to the section on African-American culture on about.com, Congressman John Conyers, an African-American Democrat from Michigan, was the first to come with the idea of establishing the King holiday. Shortly after King’s assassination in 1968, Conyers created a bill in an effort to make Martin Luther King’s birthday a federal holiday. In the beginning, the bill failed to reach its goal. However, Conyers did not give up. He organized marches and collaborated with singer Stevie Wonder between 1982 and 1983. In 1983, President Ronald Regan signed the bill, making Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday. This holiday is held every third Thursday of January.

“[The King holiday] is an opportunity for us today to honor [Dr. King] and work on the issues in the African American Community,” Cheatham said.

The holiday continues not only to impact the African-American community but various communities worldwide.

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