The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

“I Have a Dream Today”

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.


Observed on the third Monday of every January in America, Martin Luther King Jr. Day recognizes the entire life’s work of a singular man’s fight toward a better future for America. Jan. 15, 2024, is the day that MLK Jr. Day falls on this year, which also occurs on King’s birthday. This day recognizes the activism and practices of Reverend Kings’ efforts for equality, civil rights, and nonviolence. 

 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta to Pastor Martin Luther King Sr. and former schoolteacher, Alberta King. Originally born into the name Micheal Luther King, at six years old, his parents would change his name to the now renowned Martin Luther King Jr. King grew up in the South, during the times of segregation, and went to ‘all-colored’ schools from elementary to college, as well as an all-Black church, which both his parents worked within. 

 King was born from multiple generations of preachers, and his family was heavily involved in church, especially Ebenezer Baptist church, which King would later in life become pastor of. King had, for the time, an ordinary childhood for a young African American boy growing up in the Jim Crow era. Both his parents and God played a significant and loving role in how King grew up and behaved. 

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 King cemented that two events that occurred in his adolescence heavily affected him and his beliefs of equality. The first was the death of his grandmother, whose passing brought into Kings’ eyes, the problem of immortality, and more importantly personal immortality, a.k.a. the legacy left behind. The second experience that impacted him was his first experience of racial division. When he was six, he had a friend who happened to be white, King had seen nothing wrong with this friendship. However, one day that friend told King that his father did not want him to be around King. King, caught off-guard and shocked, told his parents of this, not having understood the implications.  

 “As my parents discussed some of the tragedies that had resulted from this problem and some of the insults, they themselves had confronted on account of it, I was greatly shocked, and from that moment on I was determined to hate every white person. As I grew older and older this feeling continued to grow.” King wrote in his autobiography, The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. 

 King is heavily known for his love for his fellow man, no matter the color of their skin. King dealt with issues revolving around how to love one who has made it their mission to hate. King had always wanted a change in the system which had heavily segregated and oppressed people, simply for being another color. He also held resentment toward the system and was angered at what could be done so easily and without restriction to people like him, a resentment that had been passed down from his father. He could only watch as acts of malice and brutality were committed to him and his community. King still believed in equality for all, as when he worked in a factory as a teenager, one which hired both white and Black people, he witnessed how exploited poor whites were right alongside him. 

 King had gone to college, and though at first not planning to enter the ministry, with the encouragement and convincing of a scholar, would go on to receive his master’s and doctorate as well, becoming Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King, having married his love Coretta Scott King, both having extensive pasts in civil rights activism, moved back to the south, so that King could become a pastor. Through both civil rights activism and religious communities, King quickly became a figurehead in the Civil Rights Movement. Creating the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as both a unification of African American churches in the South and the organization of nonviolent movements and coordinated civil rights protests. 

 King became an important figure in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, alongside the work of Rosa Parks and Sarah Keys. With the help of the many voices of the movement, segregation within busing was ruled as unconstitutional. King also participated in sit-ins which had catapulted from the Greensboro sit-in, King would be arrested and kept in jail for a long period. Due to Kings’ large presence within the civil rights movement, this would not be his only arrest. After leading peaceful protests in his home of Atlanta, he would be arrested during an extreme act of police brutality, while in custody, King would write his well-known letter, ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’. This letter both defended Kings’ campaign, as well as addressed the injustices faced and the reason for nonviolence. 

 King would go on to lead the now notorious March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963, followed by about 200,000 marchers behind him. This march would directly lead to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which guaranteed the equality of all, by prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. During this march, King would deliver one of the most acclaimed speeches of not just the movement, but in all history. This speech, “I Had a Dream,” cemented Kings’ legacy, and brought more support to the movement by addressing America’s greatest shame toward the Black community, as well as acknowledging Kings’ hope for the future. 

 “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.” King stated on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. “…we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.” King said as he finished his speech and lit a flame within the future of America. 

 Unfortunately, though King would heavily impact the world around him, he would not live to see this future take place. While coordinating a protest for better working conditions for Black sanitation workers, King would be killed. He was assassinated on Apr. 4, 1968, while on a balcony of a motel by James Earl Ray. Kings’ death quickly became national news and incited anger from multiple communities in America, and riots occurred, though this does not reflect what King had hoped for. 

 King believed in the personal immortality of man, and this belief is heavily supported by his own legacy. The future which King fought for, though not perfect, would become a reality, and his influence over the gaining of civil rights and his teachings are still felt today. The third Monday of every January is now meant to remember the legacy of King, however, Kings’ touch on history is, and will always be sensed every day.

For more information on Martin Luther King Jr. and his work, please visit,  or  

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Jennifer Fernandez
Jennifer Fernandez, Staff Writer

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    Robert LandbeckJan 26, 2024 at 4:50 AM

    There is an old expression that goes: ‘the path to hell is filled with good intentions’. So also having a dream without the means is where self deception begins. Tragically for MLK, and the rest of us, democracy is without the potential to realize the dream. To think otherwise is to misunderstand human nature itself!