Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led America into an era of heighten social and moral consciousness. His efforts set the stage for legislation guaranteeing civil rights to all Americans. Here are reflections on the King holiday from some senior Americans:
“I have participated in community events as a marcher and as a celebration speaker. Now I attend seminars honoring the holiday. But when I think about the situation then, and the changes, it reminds me of my part; then I rededicate.” – David Covin, retired political science professor and community organizer. Sacramento, CA
“I used to go downtown to the annual parade. It provided an opportunity to be with liked minded people. But my greatest King impacts occurred when I visited the Mall, where he gave the I Have A Dream Speech and when he gave the Riverside Church speech.” – Cecilia Gray, Retired university administrator. Sacramento, CA
“I got involved in Martin Luther King service through my college fraternity in 1985. We encourage children to understand the challenges he faced, as we face them. The holiday gives me the chance to be a part of a large positive celebration and to experience a major historical advancement for black people; America celebrating the efforts of this great leader.” – Theodore Headen, Adult education teacher, Los Angeles, CA
“Since 1986, the King Holiday had been a time for community service with my frat brothers. More recently, I attend celebration events with my family or we go to a parade. But these are momentary celebrations. I wish my community did something as large as, and as ongoing as; the celebrations and the service efforts in Atlanta.” – Jovier Evans, Federal manager, Washington, D.C.
“The King celebration makes me remember what he did and accomplished. For me, it is a National Holiday that celebrates the elimination of “Jim Crow” and the man who influenced its demise. Now I reflect on the consequential progress we have made and the associated civil and professional opportunities that became available to minorities. I wish, however, the day would evolve into a day of discussions about today’s issues more than those of the past.” – Robert V. Lewis, Retired government and private sector senior manager. Baton Rouge, LA.
“The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday is the day I commemorate an American who fought for civil rights for all Americans. I am happy my city and our schools have good events promoting his efforts and stressing the importance of this segment of American history.” – Patricia McCall, Retired reading specialist, New Orleans, LA
“Civil rights have always been a large part of my life. My involvement in the civil rights struggle goes back to the early days of the King movement. I believe Dr. King’s leadership changed our country for the better, so I feel good that my country recognizes his efforts with a holiday. ” – Karen Taranto, Healthcare consultant, Sacramento, CA
“The Montgomery bus boycott raised my civil rights consciousness. Since then I have witnessed large and small triumphs in favor of Dr. King. Granted undercurrents still exist but compared to the past temperament, racism has been decried. This is a great achievement and I am happy that Dr. King is given the recognition for that great achievement.” – Don Taranto, Retired mathematics professor, Sacramento, CA.
“Dr. King personifies courage and deliverance. God chose this man and gave him the courage and temperament to stand for social justice. On the holiday I do my prison ministry activities then I reflect on the deliverance God granted my country. ” – Gwen Paul, Homemaker with a prison ministry, Cary, NC
“For me, the King Holiday is not a celebration of King himself. It is pays homage to the post World War II civil rights movement. It disappoints me that the critical Riverside Church speech is seldom mentioned. So the commemoration does not go deeper enough. The holiday should be a true civil rights event directed towards the young. An ideal program includes news clips of the violence authorities perpetrated on the marchers, personal narratives, statistics of the movement’s injuries and deaths, references Dr. King made about full employment and their effects on reducing racism and poverty.” John F. Henry, Professor in economics, Kansas City, MO
Lloyd Gavin, Sacramento, CA, is a retired mathematics teacher. He enjoys building fine furniture, studying the Bible, ballroom dancing and music – classical and jazz. His experiences include hosting summer mathematics enrichment programs for inner city youth, leadership in a communication organization, nature photography, and travel. His desire to be a source for mathematics teachers is surpassed only by his love of God and his family.