On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Kansas State University was one of the last university campuses King spoke at on Jan. 19, 1968.
The K-State community will have the opportunity to reflect on the seminal life of Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination through a series of activities hosted by the K-State Alumni Association, K-State Libraries and the Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies titled, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Reflection: Gone But Not Forgotten.
At 1:30 p.m. on April 4, 2018, a public gathering, reflection and moment of silence will take place at the MLK Bust located next to Ahearn Field House. Bernard Franklin, assistant vice president for student life, will speak at the gathering.
King was a prominent member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. The Kappa Tau chapter at Kansas State University will also be involved in the gathering.
“It’s important as we are coming up on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s devastating assassination, to reflect on how important his life and legacy was. This function will allow us to come together as a campus to reflect on the assignment he left us and try to be the country and world that he envisioned,” said Brandon Clark, adviser to the Kappa Tau chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
Additionally, an exhibit in Hale Library titled Best of times, worst of times: K-State in 1968 will be on display for public viewing.
“Dr. King’s final address on a university campus was here in Manhattan, so it is fitting that we are participating in this event. In listening to the speech Dr. King gave at K-State, I have felt the power of his ability to effectively communicate with eloquence and with touches of humor amidst serious topics. He understood societal needs and ills through experience and inquiry. His call to action remains relevant today for us to acknowledge the diversity of people around us and respect them as fellow humans who are sharing the same time and space with us,” said Cliff Hight, associate professor and university archivist.
Finally, at 6:05 p.m., the university’s 98-bell carillon will ring 39 times to represent King’s age at the time of his assassination. The bell toll is part of a national call from the National Civil Rights Museum for campuses and churches to recognize this anniversary.
The K-State community is encouraged to wear all black on April 4 as a symbol of reflecting on King’s life.
“We would like the entire university community and our alumni and friends to join us as we reflect on Dr. King's life and his legacy,” said Jessica Elmore, K-State Alumni Association associate director for diversity programs. “We hope this will be an opportunity for our everyone to think about what part we play in creating an equitable space.”