MLK Holiday Calls For A Moment Of Reflection

This past week, on Monday, Jan. 21, Wake Forest granted students, faculty and staff a day off from regularly scheduled activities to reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King was the iconic proponent of nonviolent activism during the Civil Rights Movement.

Many students spent the day sleeping late, spending time with friends and loved ones and catching up on schoolwork. However, the holiday also afforded an oppotunity for the Wake Forest student body to reflect on the state of justice, racial affairs and activism in the U.S. today. While great progress has been made since King’s era, his birthday should remind all of us how much work is left to be done before true equality is realized in the U.S.

Opportunities for both reflection and conscious action on the holiday were plentiful in Winston-Salem and across the country.

For example, Wake Forest students gathered in the Winston-Salem City Council chambers to demand the removal of a Confederate statue downtown — a vestige of the violent and racist history of slavery present in our community. Others visited Winston-Salem State University to hear CNN political commentator Angela Rye speak about King’s legacy. Across the country, people participated in the MLK Day of Service, honoring King by working together on community projects. Students would not have been able to remember King’s life in as meaningful ways if not for the university-wide holiday.

The Editorial Board of Old Gold & Black urges the campus community to not only remember King’s legacy following the holiday and leading up to Black History Month in February, but also to think more broadly about issues of race and justice that still penetrate public consciousness. Indeed, students should not view the work that King started as completed, but as a project that will need to be actively pursued for decades to come.

Throughout the month of February, the Wake Forest campus will host numerous events to recognize Black History Month. The Editorial Board urges students to attend, think critically about the issues that are prevented and use the privileges and opportunities granted by a liberal arts education to be agents of change in the future.

  • Hank Wordsworth

    “a vestige of the violent and racist history”

    Do you truly believe that or because MTV said so?

    • TD

      It is amazing that 150 years later there are still people who think enslaving people is something to be honored with a statue.

      The myth of “states rights” and the United States aggression against the Confederacy still lives. Perhaps you should go back and reread the cornerstone speech of delivered by Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens.

      • Hank Wordsworth

        An artifact of his time and exigency. Like Aristotle. Like me. Like you. Though certainly tougher, smarter and more honorable than us despite never weighing more than a 100 lbs his entire life. Yes, we could learn a lot from the grit, tenacity and magnanimity of Alexander Hamilton Stephens:

        • TD

          You know there are few statues to Benedict Arnold – maybe you can take up the cause of another traitor to the United States of America.

          • Hank Wordsworth

            For the record, I’m a fervent opponent of slavery and can assure you it will be a capital crime in CSA II. Individual southern states were already looking for creative ways to end
            slavery before the War, and Virginia almost voted to end it in 1832. Unfortunately by that time Northern abolitionists had so inflamed the issue to a white head of rabid ideology further progress was impossible. In an atavism of Puritan witch-burning conscience, abolitionists even began to view and encourage slaves as vengeance proxies. Nevertheless, slave-owning blacks, whites and Jews at the time should have stepped back from their emotion and defensiveness, called the abolitionists’ hand, freed every slave and provided every one of them—or at least those with an attitude– a voucher to live in New England or Brooklyn.

          • TD

            Virginia “almost” voted to end slavery because of the western area that after the war against the United States became West Virginia, Those voting to end it were opposed by the plantation owners to the East, who supported the Confederacy. A third of the US military from Virginia stood by their oath to protect the United States, unlike Lee.

          • Hank Wordsworth

            You are quite a patriot. Are there any circumstances under which you would “secede” from the Union?