CU students voice their observations about Martin Luther King Jr.
The CU campus was closed Monday, Jan. 15, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The national holiday, which celebrates the birth of the Nobel Peace Prize winner, has been in effect since 1986 and falls on the third Monday of every January.
When asked about King, Rachel Harrah, a junior linguistics major, said she didn’t know much about the holiday.
“I do know that he was a civil rights activist,” Harrah said.
King was born on Jan. 15, 1929, and was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
Matthew Tolbirt, a sophomore open option major, has just transferred to CU from London where he was going to school. He said that in England, King is recognized and respected more than any other American in history.
While Tolbirt was in an ethics class he said he read King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.” Tolbirt said the letter had a great impact on him.
“I really respect his foresight and courage,” Tolbirt said. “It’s sad that the first one is always burned.”
When asked if Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday should be celebrated Tolbirt said it is necessary to observe it.
“As a human being King broke down many barriers,” Tolbirt said.
Chris Maytag, a master’s candidate in education, said he thinks it is important to recognize King for what he stood for in the brief time he was alive.
“I would caution about holding him up as the only person in the civil rights movement in the past, present or future,” Maytag said.
Maytag said it is an important holiday in that it reminds Americans of past wrongs and provides a hope for the future.
Mike St. Clair, a graduate student studying German, said it is a good idea to celebrate King’s birthday because it brings reconciliation for our country’s racial inequity.