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Tuesday
March 02nd, 2021

shelter article new 2 sept====Jan. 15, 2001====

Liberal High School senior Special to the Times

While driving home from school just recently, I saw a white boy helping a black girl cross the street, holding her hand. The two then walked beside each other on down that block. In our recent past, this scene would never have occurred. The lives of the two children might never have even crossed. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for unity within the salad bowl nation that we have in the United States today.

My life has been completely changed through the physical aspect of King's powerful message. Instead of running cross-country with all white males, I can run with a black runner, a Hispanic, and even an Asian. The competition has greatly increased, and all sports have greatly benefited from the addition of African-American and other races as well. I also can go to a restaurant, store, or care center and see a variety of races.

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The nursing home which my father administrates is culturally diverse, and all races offer excellent care to the older people who must live there. As a matter of fact, an African-American woman whom I have gotten to know was given the outstanding CNA of the Year award, and she has impacted my life simply through her commitment. Without the movement started partially by Dr. King, she would have never have been able to get into the position she is so good at. Dr. King greatly impacted my life through the accomplishments of other African-Americans.

The words of Dr. King also changed my mental picture of the reason for the occurrence of the Civil War. The life that the average white American has lived has been extremely easy going compared to the trials and the hardships of the many races that inhabit our country. Not a single one of my ancestors was

ever sold into slavery or any other extreme living conditions. I have never been discriminated against, but Dr. King speaks in such a way that he makes the man who has a heart for change want to help someone other than himself or herself. He showed the United States what the people were fighting for when hundreds of thousands died. No other man before him had been able to accomplish this, and it has definitely made its mark on the society we live in today. Unlike our grandparents and some of our parents, I do not see people as black, brown, or white. The movement of Martin Luther King, Jr., brought forth a whole new philosophy towards races other than our own, and he did this without violence, something that those during the times of the Civil War could not accomplish.

The most powerful way that Dr. King has affected my life has been in the social standpoint of people and what they do. He fought for unity, and in the social classes he has achieved it. The African-American and white man have the same rights, the same laws, and if either race is treated unjustly, there is a way to correct the problem nonviolently in a court of law. The students at my school drink out of the same water fountains (something unheard of in our recent history), walk the same halls, and eat in the same cafeteria. King's vibrant speeches brought forth a change that we are still witnessing. Two men of different color can walk into a room, do business with one another, and have no feelings of resentment toward the other. Our lives have been forever changed by the books, the speeches, and the physical interaction King had with people who wanted to bring about change.

Through Martin Luther King Jr., the United States has not eradicated segregation and prejudice from its borders, but it has made a vast improvement. Today, we know that we must follow the example set forth by Dr. King and look past the many shades of melanin and into the hearts and souls of the people with whom we come in contact.

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