Martin Luther King Day on the Tillotson Campus

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Martin Luther King Day on the Tillotson Campus

Baker Tuthill, Reporter

Yesterday, Austinites rallied at the Martin Luther King Jr. statue at UT to begin the march to Tillotson. On their way, the group walked MLK Jr. Boulevard on this day dedicated to a great hero in American history. Paying respects and thanking for MLK for civil rights improvement was only half of the celebration. The March ended on the Tillotson Campus, and the festival was soon in full swing with many attenders, food trucks, games, businesses, and even a band and choir.

It really showed how, all these years later, Martin’s famous Dream has come to be. People gathered to celebrate with each other, not caring at all about the race or creed. In MLK’s time, a sight like this would have been a rarity.

Amongst the fun and games, a band got up on stage and performed for the whole crowd. Their performance was outstanding. Right after their performance, attendees were also treated to an old-school choir. The soulful singing combined with rap solos was an interesting combination of new and old. The festival was an excellent time for all involved and was a great way to celebrate MLK.

Remembering MLK’s Death

It was April 5th, 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. had been campaigning for civil rights for years. Already assassination attempts had been made against him, one coming so close that the person who treated his wounds said that the knife stab that almost killed him was so close to fatal, if he had sneezed it could have killed him.

Today, the civil rights hero was not so lucky. His last words as he walked out onto the balcony to get some fresh air were to a piano player who would be playing that night. He said: “Ben, make sure you play ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord‘ in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.”

When he walked out onto the balcony, a single rifle bullet hit him on the cheek, killing him too soon for any medical staff to save him. He died at just 39 years old.

James Earl Ray was the culprit. He pleaded guilty shortly after the FBI found his fingerprints in a gun he had thrown on the dumpster. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

Thanking MLK

Now, all these years later, Martin Luther King Jr. has helped secure civil rights freedom. He never lived to see all the fruits of his labor, but we can appreciate them today.