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Guestbook Archive: 2003

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He would be at the forefront of a peaceful solution to Iraq's problem today.

Bill, Portland, Ore.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man. And even though he's not here today to stand by his words, we will do the job for him.

Shanay, Curie High School, Chicago, Ill.

As mother of two small children, I want them to know that as a human species we all bleed the same color and feel the same pain. I will continue to teach them that discrimination is very wrong.

Jennifer, North Georgia Technical College, Blairsville, Ga.

Let's go out and make a difference. For all we know, that tired lady we hold the door for, that soda can we recycle, that $5 we give to charity, anything we do could affect the future. So go, go right now, don't wait till later, start living the Martin way, I dare you, I beg you, speak up, dream, right NOW!

Jessica, St. Michael Lutheran School, Fort Myers, Fla.

People think it's funny for me to have a role model such as Martin because I am Caucasian, but he and I are both human and there are not enough Martin Luther King Jrs. in the world. MLK Jr. Day is not celebrated in the town I live in. We do not get a day off from school to celebrate, but we do get off for "Stock Show" holiday. I'm currently doing research for my English class to find out why a stock show is of more importance then MLK Jr. Day. I have the opportunity to interview school board members and survey the students as to how they feel. So far, the students agree that MLK Day is of a much greater importance. The majority of the race is Hispanic, and only a handful are African American, which is why I believe Black History Month and MLK Jr. Day are overshadowed in this community.

Today from what I observe in my own community, the race relations are not exactly great. If you were to come to the high-school campus in the morning, you would see that the races are divided. The white people/people whose parents are somebody stand around the flagpole in the courtyard; everyone else (Hispanics, non-wealthy) is scattered among the campus. Hopefully one day there will be a change. I can only pray, and when the conversation of race comes up, say what I truly believe. Maybe it will all start with me.

Mary, Uvalde High School, Uvalde, Texas

It's sad that someone who had a dream to make the world a better place was assasinated because of it.

Eliesha, Iona Presontation College, Perth, Western Australia

I can still remember where I was the day Martin Luther King was shot — in the San Francisco airport. My trip to Hawaii didn't seem quite as important that day. I pause to honor this brave man each year.

John, , Puyallup, Wash.

My favorite sermon of Dr. King's was "Midnight," where he spoke about the morality and war issues of the day in the 1960s. I recently heard it again, and it was so strange. It seemed he was talking about the very things that are going on right now! I was only 4 when he was assasinated. I remember my grandma was at the grocery store and we heard it on the radio. She jumped out of the car screaming and crying, "Oh my Lord, they've killed him!" That night we went to church and our pastor prayed and talked to all of us kids about what happened. He encouraged us to never give up and to keep Dr. King's dreams and hopes alive.I knew who he was then, and I wish he was here now. He was a wonderful man, and he gave his life to make our lives better.

Ro'Chelle, , Houston, Texas

He has inspired me as a black person to hold my head up when someone tries to insult me and to never give up on what I as a person believe in.

Aubreneta, Roosevelt Jr. High, Lubbock, Texas

I feel that the children in America today are far more open-minded and accepting as a whole regarding racial issues. I believe that this is strongly due to Dr. King's movements and all those who sacrificed during that time. I am truly blessed to have the understanding of how important he was to all people as well as African Americans.

Telicia, California Correctional Peace Officers Association, West Sacramento, Calif.

In my community recently a young black student was suspended from school for a fistfight with a white student. What was reported was that in a ballgame a disagreement arose, and the white student either slammed the ball or charged the black student, using racial slurs. Blows were exchanged. Both students were suspended as required by school policy. What is troubling is that the father of the black student insists the casting of racial slurs justifies the black student's violence. I believe Dr. King's teaching is that racial violence may never be tolerated, but must not be answered by additional violence. I am saddened that this incident has not received further public scrutiny here. It could be the basis for needed changes, but I believe those changes will best serve all of us if we follow Dr. King's teachings.

Elizabeth, , Albuquerque, N.M.

My grandmother was living at the same time he was (she still is). My grandmother marched with him and many other things. And, in a way, I want to be influential like he was. I want to help people. Give great speeches and things like that. I hope to be somewhat like him when I get older.

Alexander, Wirth Middle School, Cahokia, Ill.

This man is way bigger than Negro or even American. He's about racial justice but not merely racial justice. He's about a better America but not merely a better America. Read the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, then anything by MLK. No difference — and why should there be?

David, , Oak Harbor, Wash.

Dr. King fought for many things, but I think the fight is not yet over. In high school as an 11th-grader, I can count on one hand how many times I have learned something about a black man doing something good for our country. In my school we are still fighting because we are black and trying to be something better than what the white man wants us to be. Just because they say that we are free that don't mean that we are free.

I still fail to realize why many blacks put themselves in a lower class just so no one else can do it for them. Many blacks don't vote, when that is part of the reason Dr. King fought and died, just so that we as blacks could have that right, but yet we talk all this nonsense that the white man is putting us down when it is really the black man putting each other down or us putting ourselves down.

Ashley, Hazelwood West Jr./Sr. High School, Hazelwood, Mo.

He is a hero to all. He will forever be remembered as a hero to the human race. Being white and seeing how he improved life gives me greater respect for all of the black race. He made many of the white race realize they were being unfair.

Linette, , Yarmoth, Nova Scotia

It is through education, social-law reform, and even just a wait for the generations to age and mature, before we will truly see the fruits of his labor. Women's rights were not done in a single generation, and although we all know unfairness that results from prejudice, it will take time to change the way our society acts and thinks. At one time in our history, we thought that the moon was an unreachable goal. Is social equity that much farther off?

Christine, Brevard Community College, Melbourne, Fla.

He was a great man. I hope that someday we will all see the world like he saw it.

Dilani, Rooi Panne, Grave, Noord Brabant

Dr. King's contributions go far beyond the scope of individual Americans. All citizens of the United States of America owe Dr. Martin Luther King an enormous debt, not only for the changes he brought about within our society, but also for the alteration in how the United States is perceived by the rest of the world. It is because of his activism in the civil-rights movement and his dedication to his dream that America can claim to be the leader of the "free world" without facing jeers.

The end of the "I Have a Dream" speech of 1963 sums up his ideals: "Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. ... With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood." It gives us a goal, a dream toward which we all must strive. But this dream is not for a certain race, or for a certain nation. It is for the woman who is required to undergo female circumcision. It is for the man who must go to war and return home physically and emotionally crippled. It is for the child who has lost a parent because someone flew a plane into the building where his daddy worked. This dream is for the human race. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

Clendenin, Westmoreland County Community College, Greensburg, Pa.

I don't see many black people where I live, which is sad because I think it'd be cool to expand my horizons and make black friends. Black people deserve lots of respect for what they've been through. Although I myself an not too fanatic in the field of religion, I do believe that when God made human beings, he also made black people as well. God made all human beings of all types, all ethnics, all colors, all nationalities. Well, I'll talk to you later. I just thought that since I had my opportunity I'd express my peace. Thank you.

Dave, Lake Superior High School, Duluth, Minn.

I think that MLK was THE best civil-rights leader ever. I don't know what some of the people back then were thinking.

Lisa, Meridian Elementary School, Butler, Pa.

As a young child growing up in the '60s in southern West Virginia, I know firsthand what racism really is. I know what it means to stand outside the chainlink fence of a "members only" swimming pool and wonder why some of the kids in school could spend their summers swimming and playing tennis. It takes a piece of your soul that can never never be replaced. Today, I can still see that big pool with the pristine waters and all the kids splashing and having fun. Forty years later, I can still see. I can see the piano teacher in the public school refusing to give private lessons to my sister and I because, as she put it, "I don't teach no niggers." I can still see. I see the hatred on my grandmother's face when she was forced to purchase a hat that she merely tried on my little brother's head in a local store there in West Virginia. I see! Today, I am one of the only blacks working at an analytical laboratory in Pennsylvania and no one around me seems to even know that it is a day to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.; no one seems to care. But not me. Not me. I can see!

Velma, , Lancaster, Penn.

I suggest you wake up Monday morning and take 30 seconds to remember what he did for many people.

Bryan, Harbour Pointe Middle School, Mukilteo, Wash.

I believe that if 100 try to make a difference like Dr. King did, my children will live in a world that will be accepting of who they will be. I plan on being one of those people ... who wants to join me???

Briana, Southwestern College, Winfield, Kan.

MLK taught me what a real man is. A real man is a peacemaker and not a muscle flexer. A real man will give his own life promoting peace. A real man has no need to show how tough he is and has nothing to prove. A real man is concerned with the plight of the poor and will give up his own so that others may have. A real man is full of compassion and mercy and has a heart of forgiveness. A real man does not believe that education or one's personal value makes them any better than anyone else. A real man understands that a persons morals are between them and God and our duty is only to ensure we all have food, shelter and transportation. Anything less is not manhood but the fool's way.

Wilfred, Seattle, Wash.

As an African American, I have always thought that I had to stand up for the rights of myself and for others. In my lifetime so far I have been exposed to racism more than once. But thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. I knew how to react to it. I would like to thank Dr. King for making me into the person I am today, which is a strong black woman who knows her rights, and how to stand up for herself.

Rossna, Jersey City, N.J.

I still feel the pressure of racism, subtle and disguised in intellectual conversation. Like the institutions that hire me one time a year to present programming for the African-American audience. As a storyteller/poet, my activities can be presented any time of the year, but it hasn't failed yet that from MLK day to the end of February, as an African-American male storyteller, it is my "busy" time of year.

Oba-William, Chicago, Ill.

Too much focus is put on MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech. The truth is he stood up for so much more than African-American rights. He was a crusader for everything that was wrong that should be right. He is a great role model and I think people look too much at the surface of his life and don't dig enough for more facts on how great he was.

Jackie, EMU, Ypsilanti, Mich.

MLK had a large influence upon race issues in the United States. Unfortunately, he was an adulterer, a liar and a plagiarist. Although he may have brought about a small measure of peace and a bit of change for a few of us in the black American community, his life did not measure up to his actions. In other words, he didn't practice what he preached. His credibility continues to cast doubt and encourages further stereotyping upon us by others. Hopefully, the current century will find a more deserving leader for the Afro-American community.

Janissa, , Detroit, Mich.

The schools in my neighborhood are not so great, but if my neighborhood was looked upon as more than just a "black neighborhood" and efforts were made to improve the community, the schools would more than likely improve as well.

Gina, , Richmond, Virginia

Living in a small town, our school is not integrated, but because of MLK, being around people of other cultures and racial backgrounds doesn't really make that big of a difference to us.

Christine & Jordan, Canistota Public High School, Canistota, S.D.

I am a 27-year-old white woman. The thing that tires me most in this country are white people who insist that the African-American community has it easier now than they, thanks to affirmative action. They argue that the African American uses up welfare and whines about oppression when oppression is clearly finished with. I believe that none of this is true. How many of us have researched affirmative action to learn its goals, wishes, successes and failures? How many of us have really looked at the numbers of welfare recipients and made our conclusions then? Does ANYONE do their homework before making these sweeping assertions? Yes, African Americans are no longer enslaved in America and for the most part, no longer legally segregated from whites, but do I think everyone has an equal opportunity yet? No, I don't.

I hope for better things for all minorities. Let's learn about each other. Let's ask questions and speak from our hearts and seek to understand each other. Yes, I think we're different, but how I love the differences. I will always work for what Rev. King worked for, deeper understanding between people groups, equal opportunity for all and a feeling of brotherhood prevalent in America. And I will NEVER declare myself free from prejudice, because that declaration more than anything pegs someone as a racist to me. All humans harbor one prejudice or another, all of us. Let's work to minimize the effect this trait has on our daily lives and thoughts.

Cerissa, , Eugene, Ore.

As a young man back in the 60's I was a racist. I hated Dr. King. But then after becoming a Christian, I began to restudy the life of Dr. King and have not only come to believe in his mission, but feel that he was one of the finest leaders of our time. I look forward to the day when I can meet this great man face to face at the feet of our Lord.

Jim , Castle Rock, Colo.

We are on the edge in Seattle. The low, muffled sound of rage echoes over our city.

B.G., Seattle, Wash.

Freedom is not a reward or a decoration that is celebrated with champagne ... Oh no! It's a ... long-distance race, quite solitary and very exhausting. — Albert Camus

C.V, Colegio Internacional de Carabobo, Valencia, Carabobo

I hear a lot concerning African-American and white relations. I am an American Indian and understand that race relations in this country are not limited to these two races. It is the most apparent problem on the surface due to the larger African-American population, but it is not the only problem. This land is Native American. Over 500 Native Nations thrived on this land before anyone else was here. Now several of those are extinct due to white colonization and genocide against us. Native Americans were not citizens until 1924, and then citizens by force, as unlike most African-Americans, we choose to be separate from the rest of America due to our unique status as independent nations.

We understand the struggles that black people have undergone in American history and definitely up till today also, as we have suffered this same racism, only in a distinct way. American Indians respect Dr. King highly, but we tend to relate better to figures such as Malcolm X who determined that there will always be ignorant white and other peoples who refuse to realize the "dream" as a part of their lives. So many Indian figures have been community leaders and are nationally renowned and revered, but we are spread out across America from Maine to Southern California, speaking hundreds of different languages and fighting in different struggles against the government.

For the over 2 million Native Americans spread out in almost 500 tribal nations throughout this land usurped from us, and whose blood is represented on the American flag, our struggles have done nothing but increase. Our common bonds are our indigenous ties to this land. We support our African-American relatives who were taken from their own lands and brought here by force to lands unknown.

In the struggle — Wa-do di-gi-na-li di-ni-s'-di dv'. Na-ga-da-i' ayv'wi ya,

Aaron, Indiana Technical Institute, Indianapolis, IN

I am from a small town in the state of South Carolina. I grew up with very prejudice grandparents, but seemed to luck up with my parents. They went to school when segregation in the school system was a big issue in the south. From their experiences, they taught me to accept people for who they are and not the color of their skin. On the other hand my children have grown up in a military environment. All colors and creed have surrounded them their entire lives. They do not see color, only the person. My husband and I pride ourselves in teaching our children to love everyone.

I have found there is a lot of "reverse" racism in our school system. Children of different colors tend to turn the tables a little when needed. I always hope that with every day that passes, relationships between different races will improve. I feel since the '50s and '60s we have come along way. Everyone deserves to be treated equally. I would like to see relations improve in the work place. I feel when someone applies for a job, it should be given on merit not on skin color or gender. How can the best job be done when someone is not hired based on qualifications and experience?

Lisa, , Brevard Community College, Melbourne, Fla.

I reside in northeastern Pennsylvania. In our area we do not fully recognize this important day. Why? I have no idea. In our region most banks, and federal institutions recognize this day as important enough to close in observation. But most schools in our area do not do so ... but we do have off for doe and buck season for hunting animals. This seems a bit ignorant in my opinion. We aren't supporting ethnic and racial differences if we do not fully acknowledge this holiday and others like it. This certainly isn't showing members of the African American population in our area that we acknowledge this man and what he has done to shape our country and the values we teach in our schools. I think it is a disgrace not to observe this day correctly.

Joe, Honesdale Elementary Schools, Honesdale, Penn.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been a hero of mine since I was a child. As I have grown older and been able to research deeper into his beliefs and strategies for social change through nonviolent political action, I have been deeply inspired by his commitment to "agape" — love of man (people) as a representation of God; love thy enemy, as he too is God. As a non-Christian it took some struggling to see the inherent goodness and deep reverence for all human kind in the Christian rhetoric. Reading the papers of Dr. King has inspired me and reaffirmed my deepest-held beliefs that great change is possible through nonviolent, grass-roots political action. In the face of the current call to war, I am holding the light of Dr. King's actions and words to stand firm against violence and aggression.

Jessica, Portland, Ore.

I only wish he was still here today 'cause the fight he was fighting we are still fighting today. When I grow up I wish to be as powerful as him, but I'm only 12 years old. I can't even get a job yet, let alone speak in Washington, D.C. I don't get the best grades and I don't have the best behavior, but as God is my witness I try. But people won't let me get my voice in, and that's racism. I am going to try until I reach my goal in life. I don't care what it takes. And on my journey to being somebody, Dr. King will be my idol the whole way.

Caitlin, Kitley Intermediate, Indianapolis, Ind.

Of course there are more improvements in race relations today than years before. However, the progress has been slow and there are ongoing setbacks. I hope this new generational movement will strike a genuine interest for all peoples to accept racial differences and in fact, learn to appreciate them. African-American contributions are world-wide. When white America grips the reality of a united country, pigmentation will be a dead issue.

Sonya, Seattle, Wash.

Dr. King died exactly 4 months before I was born, but throughout my childhood his voice rang clear in my heart because racism was still very obvious even after his death. My soul is filled with love for all people and I know that would make Dr. King very proud to see so many black men and women like myself filled with so much love for the white race. I quit my job today, a job that I really loved, because of racism. It is very hard for me to work with people that are racist against blacks and if it means that I have to stay unemployed then so be it because I refuse to work with white people that treat us as if we are nothing.

Sheryl, , Lafayette, La.

I have learned a lot about MLK and his bravery and how he didn't give up, and that's what makes me admire him. He has showed me that no matter what color I am, I can still follow my dreams, and that if I wanna accomplish them I have to do everything I can and let no one or anything stop me. I am proud to be an American and I am proud to be free and I am proud that there was someone like MLK to help make America a better place. When I sing our national anthem and I get to the part where it says "For the land of the brave and the home of the free," I will remember who helped make it that way.

Karen, Fulton Middle School, Middleton, Mich.

Dr. King was a great influence to the entire world. Faced with discrimination and cruel people, he believed that in every person there was good. He stood firm and made his message clear, but was never forceful or violent. If all the world were as strong as him, we wouldn't be in the trouble we're in today. If half the world stood up for what they believed in, without violence, then we would be not only happier, we would be safer too. Without Dr. King our world today would be a very solemn place, and I'm glad that it's not.

Stephanie, Memorial School, Union Beach, N.J.

I just want to say that I am thankful that the same day I celebrate my birthday. I also celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Because if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be living such a good life.

Mikala, I.S.318 School for Math, Science and Technology, Bronx, N.Y.

I was just a child at the time of Martin Luther King Jr,'s speeches, but his words always rang true when I heard them. I feel that the schools in my neighborhood have too many children of race in their special classes. I feel that the earlier education classes should have put forth more effort to excel at projects to make comfortable children that would make their grade for that semester. Race relations are not an issue that seems to come up.

Lucy, Brevard Community College, Melbourne, Fla.

I want to say thanks to Dr. King and his family for their dedication to the civil-rights movement. Because of the great effort of Dr. King, I am what I am today. Dr. King lives on every day when a black person graduates from school. Because of Dr. King the children can go to school freely in my neighborhood, the children play together and co-exist without a problem.

Jennifer, , Philadelphia, Penn.

Wish he was here today to see the things that's going on today. He would not be happy at all because we have people that are in gangs and things like that, but the one thing that he would be happy about is that white and blacks are being friends as far as they are still hangin' out with each other. I know that he is lookin' down and sayin' "If I was down there the things that's goin' on will not be going on."

Tiffany, East Orange, N.J.

I'm glad that King lived so everyone could have equal rights. He must have been really brave and believed strongly that he could do this in peace. It teaches me to talk out problems instead of doing violence.

I feel that all the schools in my neighborhood have mostly black people and not much of a variety. Also lower economic. I want more diversity. I feel that all the races don't get along sometimes.

Guo Zhu, John Stanford International School, Seattle, Wash.

Remembering MLK

Oh tell me, have you heard of him —
The one who had a dream?
Unlike my dreams, not self-involved,
But a universal theme
That all Godís children on this Earth
Would live in harmony,
Savor freedom, know their worth
And live in dignity
ĎTis a humbling thing to write, my friend,
Of one who spoke so well
Of Brotherhood for humankind,
All born of peace, they tell.
So we remember him today
As we all brace for war
And Martinís tears rain down on us
Like itís never rained before.

Barbara Nasralla, 2002, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

When discussing the recent debate over affirmative action one of my elders reminded me that when they talk about the unfairness of the quota system it is another demonstration of America's selective amnesia. When the constitution was drawn, the founding fathers decided to apply a value of 3/5 for every Negro compared to 1 for every white — well, isn't that the formula for a quota system?

Affirmative action is a means to establish equal footing, a level playing field, for all who strive to better themselves. It is sad that we have to deal with the fact that our country was built on the back of slavery, but truth is truth, you can't wish it away. But we can work toward a better tomorrow where a young person is encouraged to do their best, work and study hard and know you won't be limited by the color of your skin. Regardless of your heritage and nationality.

Oba-William, Chicago, Ill.

As a teacher of Grade 5 students in British Columbia, Canada, Martin Luther King Jr. still is someone very important to talk about on January 15th. His words of wisdom continue to impact students today as they did decades ago. His courage and his ability to stand up and fight for what he believed in is to be forever remembered. We need more leaders of his quality today.

Ann, Heritage Christian School, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

No matter what race you are that you should have equal rights as others!

Britton, Meridian Middle School, Lynden, Wash.

I think the schools in my neighborhood are very racist. I think white people have it easier.

Kera, Sharon Middle School, Sharon, Mass.

I am teaching my special-education students about this holiday. These children are severely handicapped, but nevertheless, as Americans, have the freedom and opportunity that was the crux of Dr. King's philosophy.

Sheri , Iron Horse Middle School, San Ramon, Calif.

Martin Luther King Jr. made a difference in the U.S. because he set a demonstration for all of the black slaves. During school, most people think 'Hurray for Martin Luther King Jr day, no school!' but I think that Martin Luther King day should be for appreciating the differences he made when he was still around.

Ace, Broomfield Heights Middle School, Broomfield, Colo.

I am a teacher in Arkansas public schools in the Delta area. I am ashamed to admit that not much is done in the classrooms to help students understand the impact that Dr. King's life had in this country and other countries during the 20th century and continues to have. I see bulletin boards put up for almost every holiday, except during MLK's birthday and Black History Month. It was not until 1998 that the teachers in Arkansas were given the day off for MLK's birthday. Since I have been in this school district, I have made it a commitment to involve the students in the observance of Dr. King's birthday and Black History Month. I feel that race relations has a long way to go. Racism is still alive — just more ways to cover it up.

Annette, Osceola Jr./High School, Osceola, Ark.

I respect Dr King for standing for his beliefs. When it is all said and done, the sum total of our lives is our character. It saddens me to know that not everyone agreed with his methods, and/or equality for all. My soul does warm when I reflect on ordinary people standing and when all has been said & done. They are still standing.

Rhonda, North Chicago, Ill.

When Martin was killed, I was 11 and had already been impressed by him while forming my "world view." If it had not been for his efforts, a kid like me in a white, middle-class suburban environment, may have not given racism enough thought. His life and death brought cultural change, albeit gradual.

David, , Eugene, Ore.

As I sit here at my computer terminal in Germany, while my husband serves in the United States Army, I can only pause and whisper a silent prayer of thanks for the work that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has done for our country. I have two teenaged daughters whom have never felt the sting of racism in our country...yet they have witnessed it as we have travel abroad in Europe. I agree with the statement of others, that we as a nation have come a long way in our endeavor to end racism upon our soil. Yet, we have so much further to go...don't stop with remembering the man, his vision, his dream on one day ... but remember to continue in it with every day of your life ... little by little, we can rid our world of racism in any and every form.

Florenza, , Ansbach, Germany

Martin Luther King Jr. made a very big impact on my community. I live near Atlanta, Ga. When I think about the segregated schools, I can't imagine how weird it must have been. A lot of my friends today are African-Americans. I have very much respect for the man named Martin Luther King Jr. He was a great man and he will be remembered forever.

Karli, Luella Middle School, Locust Grove, Ga.

I'm ashamed to be a white man living in America because of what my race has done in the past. Those ignorant people then didn't have much learning because if they did they wouldn't have done what they did. Because of people like Dr. King the blacks are treated better today. But you still have ignorant white people out there who are still living in the past and won't let go. I will pray for them because they are narrow minded, and need help.

James, Johnson County Community College, Lawrence, Kan.

Martin Luther King Jr. achieved what his predecessors were unable to do (Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Dubouis and Frederick Douglas). Although these great men started a movement that would eventually give the Negro his freedom, it was Dr. King's efforts that would lead to the closing of the most horrendous chapters in our nation's history. The chapter that began with slavery had its intermission during the Emancipation Proclamation and was closed out with the civil-rights movement.

Dr. King devoted his life and soul to others, he sacrificed his family and health to create a nation in which its members "would not be judged by the color of their skin but rather the content of their character," part of his "Dream." With his participation, the walls of segregation have crumbled, the boastful voice of hate has been turned down to a mere whisper, and a race of black people no longer have to be silent for fear of losing their life.

The false feeling of superiority that the white race once harnessed toward the Negro has not dissolved completely, nor have the false feelings the Negro had of being inferior been driven totally from his conscience. It is important that we remember that the Roman Empire was not built in a day and the Great Wall of China in a night but they took time.

It was with the desire and dream of one Baptist preacher that sent our nation on a journey for truth, righteousness and equality for its people. So on the third Monday in January of every year we celebrate the life of a man who changed the course of history and has made me proud to be a black man living in America.

Michael, West Chester University, West Chester, Penn.

I'm a white Italian teacher of English in an Italian school in Assisi, and when King was killed I was young and not prepared for his murder. I'd never have thought somebody might not agree with his ideals and DREAM! The school where I teach is attended by students, mainly Italians, coming from different parts of the world, but I don't think they are integrated — just accepted by the locals. The situation is not much better than King's times. Actually, people are not really interested in other people's welfare. Love is still a DREAM.

Anna, Scuola Media Assisi, Assisi (Perugia), Italy

I am from a mostly white area where most are generally uneducated as to the accomplishments of Dr. King, but I feel it's necessary to fully educate myself on his life and accomplishments. King's struggle and determination is something we all should learn and admire to create a greater understanding of the civil rights movement, and how it has affected all of us profoundly.

Patrick, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colo.

Dr King was a man with the intelligence, timing and understanding to make himself into a conduit for the changes that logic required be made to a culture that had become stagnant in its progress. By culture I mean the culture of the United States. This country has pioneered many steps forward in the development of humans as a species, and changes that Dr King strove for, although now seen as obviously needed, were a challenge for people of the past to meet, and still are in many respects.

Randy, Brevard Community College, Melbourne, fla

I'm a high school junior. I'm not a big fan of my racial heritage, which is to say that I'm white. I know that only two or three generations ago my family was very discriminatory. I'm not entirely sure but sometimes I get the feeling some of my family still is. This whole concept is something I never understood.

I've gone to a lot of different schools in the past three years. The first one was in a very small mostly white populated area. I hated everything about that place and I would pray to God to get me out there. The second was a racially diverse suburban area. That gave me freedom I had only dreamed of. After that I went to an inner-city school. That place was okay, but there was a lot of violence there.

The fact that we even have to worry about race relations seems like a problem to me. In the end we are all just people, and in the end we will all be judged by our respective creators depending on our religion. When I see someone being racist toward someone else I look at that person with pity and disgust.

Roxanne, Emerald Ridge High School, Puyallup, Wash.

Nobody seems to care, but they should. MLK Jr. was a great man. The schools are OK, pretty good, teachers are nice. We don't have many black kids, but the few there are treated as one of the group.

Alyssa, Herman K. Ankeney Middle School, Beavercreek, Ohio

Living in Hong Kong as a white minority, I never once felt racism against me, or anyone. Chinese, Filipinas, Brits, Americans and so many people from all over the world lived in harmony, and it is my dream too that one day this will account to the whole world. Martin Luther's dream lives on today.

Helen, Malvern Girls College, Worsteshire, U.K.

What you think about someone's appearance does not make it a fact, but YOUR opinion!

Makinsey, Kirksville Jr. High, Kirksville, Mo.

I attend a Lutheran university and Martin Luther King Day is not recognized. We still have classes on that day, and as a black student, member of the Black Student Union and senior psychology major I find it both disturbing and offensive. I have made it my personal mission to have some sort of presentation of this great man and his acts shown on the campus on his day. I am a member of the university's newly formed and funded Anti-Racism Task Force, so I know I will be allowed to do this, but I ask why should this be the case?

Edward, Concordia University, River Forest, Ill.

On the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, I'm reminded of a dreadful day 35 years ago. April 4, 1968, is a day I'll never forget. I was working the 4 to midnight shift with my partner, Leroy Spivey, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. We were on radio motor patrol during an unusually warm spring evening in the predominantly African-American neighborhood. We had been working together for about a year as the first black and white (referred to as "salt-and-pepper" back then) team in our precinct, and one of the first in the city.

The tour of duty in the high crime area had been pretty much a routine affair during the first half of our shift: burglaries, robberies, vehicle accidents, family disputes, etc. Then, about 8 o'clock, a tragedy occurred that would change the course of history. It began for us when someone yelled over the police radio, "Martin Luther King was just shot in Memphis." Leroy, an African-American who had often spoken proudly of the man who for many years had led the civil-rights movement toward equality in America, sat in stunned silence.

As I steered the car along the darkness on Sumner Avenue, I looked toward my partner and said, "Aw, don't believe that. It's some jerk with a depraved sense of humor." But a few minutes later, a voice said, "King is DOA. A sniper got him." Leroy covered his face with his hands and shook his head slowly as if trying to block out the truth of the message. Then, over the radio, came a few comments from the less-than-human segment of the department. "Whoopee!" one voice said. "It's about time!" said another. The pain on Leroy's face intensified with each racist remark from the faceless cowards, secure in their anonymity but bereft of humanity.

It was only moments later that the dreaded news swept the country and the riots began. Calls for police response flooded the airwaves, as a segment of the population took to the streets, burning and looting in a mad frenzy of outrage and frustration. We spent the next 12 hours racing from one riot to another, chasing down looters, handcuffing them and taking them to a central booking location so other officers could process them, allowing us to return to the street. I don't remember how many arrests we made during that long, tumultuous night, but we worked continuously until 8 the next morning.

Although the violence, bitterness, and hatred I witnessed during that 16-hour tour would be long remembered, the most unforgettable sight was the intermittent tears that filled my partner's eyes as he struggled with his emotions but did his job with a profound courage and dignity. He berated those we caught looting and condemned them for besmirching the memory of Dr. King. Several times during the night, when we collared someone who had just crashed through a store window and was running away with stolen property, my partner would grab them by the throat and push them up against a wall. "This is how you honor the memory of Dr. King?" he shouted menacingly in the person's face. "You think this is what Dr. King would have wanted?" he hissed.

I don't pretend to understand the emotional roller coaster he and millions of other blacks had to deal with as they faced an uncertain future without their beloved leader. Dr. King represented more than the civil-rights movement in America. He was the conscience of a nation that needed to be continuously reminded of its sins against those who were being judged, "By the color of their skin, rather than by the content of their character."

Prior to that horrendous night, I hadn't understood the impact the Nobel Peace Prize winner had on the hearts, souls and minds of millions of African Americans. If it weren't for the tremendous display of courage and character I witnessed from my partner, I suppose I would not have been able to see the other dimension to that tragedy. Thanks to him, my education was significantly broadened in the space of 16 hours, and I became more proud than ever to call myself Leroy's partner.

Bob, Flower Mound, Texas

The moment I read what was written on his gravestone I felt ... different. It really moved me. I love that. "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I'm free at last."

Lisa, Canoe Lake School, Canoe Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada

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