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Remembering April 4, 1968

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At age 39, the late slain civil rights leader, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., still wasn’t finished. There was a moral and social agenda to push and he felt he was the person most appropriate to do it.

According to books written by former people who knew King, there was never a hesitation in King’s mind about stopping the impetus for change, whether in the world or with those around him. And decades after an assassin’s bullet took King’s life in Memphis, April 4, is still remembered as an important day.

Those who knew King say he was a gentle-minded person, hard to anger, but he possessed a determination to push for social change and justice. While he could have chosen a life of ease, he chose to devote nearly his entire life to social change for the downtrodden.

King died the early evening of April 4 in Memphis while preparing to march for the rights of city sanitation workers. Artist and former college professor Dana Chandler, originally from Boston and now a Gallup resident, participated in a lot of the civil rights marches of the 1960s. Chandler has called Gallup home for nearly a decade.

“Times were a lot different back then than what they are now,” Chandler, now in his late 70s, recently said. “Boy are things different now. But, sometimes, and to some degree, the more things change, the more they remain the same.”

Today, students continue to learn about the violent decade of the 1960s in America and the various social happenings that took place back then. There were marches and demonstrations, riots, Vietnam and Cuba and the political duo of the brothers Robert and John Kennedy of Massachusetts, and, unfortunately, the death of King. Some intellectuals have postulated that the 1960s was the most violent decade in the history of the United States.

April 4, 1968, is an important date in world history. It is a date that should be revered by everyone and not forgotten.

By Bernie Dotson

Sun Correspondent