50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s Assassination

Connor Casne-Jones, Head Writer

April 4th, 1968 was a day in history that will never be forgotten. Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.  Martin Luther King was only 39 years old at the time of his death. It’s amazing how much he accomplished in his short life!  He was a leader in the civil rights movement for 14 years. Martin Luther King preached nonviolence and peaceful resolution to conflicts.  He helped to bring an end to segregation in America. In 1964, he was the Nobel Peace Prize, and he won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. 

This April 4, 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. Thousands gathered near the national mall in Washington, D.C. for a prayer rally in honor of this remarkable man. In Memphis, Tennessee, the place where Martin Luther King was shot, there were many commemorative gatherings. The Lorraine Hotel, where King died, which now has the National Civil Rights Museum within it, commemorated King’s death by ringing their bell 39 times: One time for every year of King’s short life. They rang the bell at 6:01 p.m.: The exact time that Martin Luther King was shot.  

It is deeply disturbing that fifty years after the death of a true American hero, his dream has not yet been fully realized.  While his “I Have a Dream” speech inspired millions of people throughout the country, there are still those who support segregation in schools.  There are politicians who publicly slander entire groups of people based on race or religion.  And in the state of Maryland, on the very day that people were commemorating King’s death, nooses were found in two high schools in Pasadena. Although America has made great strides in ending segregation, King’s dream is far from realized.  

Martin Luther King has undoubtedly inspired many students such as David Hogg, a vocal high school student from Parkland High School in Florida. He and students throughout the United States have spoken up about gun violence in schools and across America.  In our very own Helena High School, one such demonstration occurred.  One month after the Parkland High School Massacre, students from Helena High collectively walked out of class to demonstrate their discontent with current gun laws and the NRA.  This peaceful demonstration is a perfect example of following in Martin Luther King’s footsteps.