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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Forty years later: remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

<r Carleton faculty, staff, and students,

On April 4, 1968, forty years ago this evening, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis Tennessee. Like yesterday, I recall that shocking and tear-filled evening, when my college classmates and I wandered our campus in dazed disbelief and anger. Many of us had heard Martin Luther King, Jr. speak. None of us can or will forget what he spoke or his abiding cries for justice.

Dr. King was but thirty-nine years old when he was murdered. Had he lived, he would today be seventy-nine years old. Would that he had lived until today; would that all of us might have been the grateful recipients of his passion and compassion for further decades.

I ask all of us in the Carleton community to dedicate this day to remember Dr. King’s ceaseless quest for justice, to dedicate ourselves to continuing this unfulfilled quest.

Dr. King had gone to Memphis to support the city’s black public works employees who had been on strike since early in March. Knowing in early April of the renewed threats on his life, on April 3, 1968, Dr. King said the following, echoing the journey of Moses to Mount Nebo overlooking the promised land:

“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got
some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with
me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And
I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long
life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not worried
about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And
He’s allowed me to come up to the mountain. And
I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land.
I may not get there with you. But I want you to
know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the
promised land.”

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