MANHATTAN – Martin Luther King III, eldest son of legendary civil and human rights activist, Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired audiences at the Kansas State University’s Student Union. King’s speech on January 25th, 2018 was the highlight of the week’s events all honoring the memory of Dr. King’s life and his important work and historic role in American civil rights at the Kansas State University. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered what would be one of his final speeches, “The Future of Integration,” at KSU on January 19, 1968. On April 4, 1968 while preparing for, The Poor People’s Campaign, a planned occupation of Washington, DC, Dr. King was assassinated.
King and his two younger siblings, Dexter Scott King and Bernice Albertine King, have worked to continue their father’s legacy and to continue inspiring future generations to livie the “dream” today, tomorrow and into the future, both in America and through out the world.
According to King, his father’s work for securing greater racial equality, putting an end poverty, and ultimately Dr. King’s call for the “radical redistribution of wealth,” were the true motives for those who hired the assassin, James Earl Ray, to destroy and stop him.
King was just 10 years old when his father was murdered on a Memphis, TN hotel balcony. Still in those ten years he shared, King’s father had given enough personal anecdotes, knowledge and wisdom to his family that would help inspire their own individual journeys; as well as the individual and collective journeys for all to whom Dr. King’s children share memories of their father’s “dream” with.
“My father often said we often have to make very frugal decisions sometimes,” King said. “The ultimate measure off a Human being is not where they stand in times of comfort and convenience, but where one stands in times of challenge and controversy.” , ‘
King closed his speech with two quotes, the first from his father.
“Cowardice asks, ‘Is the position safe?’ Expediency asks, ‘Is the position politic?’ Vanity asks, ‘Is the position popular?’ But then something deep inside of us called conscience asks, ‘Is the position right?‘”
“Allow your conscience to be your guide,” King said.
At 14, King remembers his mother took him Daniel College where he was impressed by a statue of the educator, Horace Mann, and impressed most because of the powerful quote inscribed on it.
“Be ashamed to die until you have won a victory for humanity,” an often quoted sentence originally delivered by Horace Mann in 1859 at Antioch University.
King urged attendees to take real actions towards living the “dream” everyday and in every way possible. Small actions, whether at home, at school, at work and beyond are critical for the ultimate realization of his father’s “dream.”
Leaving the Student Union and walking behind the formal color guard with KSU President Richard Meyers and his delegation, King walked across the same street now named in honor of his father. Arriving in front of the bronze bust statue of his father Dr. Martin Luther King, there King provided several somber words.
President Meyers and the individual members of his delegation laid wreaths beside Dr. King’s statue while members of the sponsoring campus organization, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (KSU Chapter), sang in harmony together a soft a-cappella hymn in the background.
Story by Joel Bales, Citizen Journalist KATSCRATCH.co