Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 16, 2012 by staff 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Although he was assassinated more than four decades ago, the nonviolent movement supported by slain civil rights leader, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., continues to have a profound impact on life in America,

“I have followed, and have been a part of the NAACP through my entire adult life,” Ellis Ray Williams, 90, of Welch said. Williams served in combat during World War II, and survived the Battle of the Bulge. When he returned home, he became an educator in McDowell County and served as principal of the vocational school that served African American students in the McDowell County public school system.

“Of course, I followed Dr. King’s career,” Williams said. “He was such a stirring speaker and a representative, not only of black people, but a representative of people of all races. I’ve been from one end of this country to the other, and can say that our minds were changed by the message Dr. King carried.”

Delegate John Frazier, D-Mercer, was serving in the U.S. Army and stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas on April 4, 1968 when Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn.

“The entire base was put on alert,” Frazier said. “There was a fear that rioting might break out in the city, and I think that’s why we were on alert, although I don’t know what I could have done. All I had then was a typewriter.”

Frazier saw the profound impact that King’s death had on several of the black soldiers he was serving with. “I had grown up with young people whose parents were active in the civil rights movement,” Frazier said. “I knew that Martin Luther King had a great impact in the lives of many people. I think it’s great that we have a day set aside to remember him and celebrate his life.”

Dr. Tom Blevins, interim president of Bluefield State College, was a student when King died, and he studied his philosophy as a student would. “As a student, I looked to the philosophies of Dr. King and Bertrand Russell,” Blevins said. “Their words are so profound. In their own way, each has moved mountains.”

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