Oberlin celebrates King’s enduring legacy

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King Jr.


A proclamation reflecting on Oberlin’s admiration for “our nation’s greatest champion of civil rights and human dignity” was read Jan. 7 by city council president Bryan Burgess.

It calls on each of us to answer Martin Luther King Jr.’s calls to action and to continue to fight for his legacy of equality for all.

Born Jan. 15, 1929, King would have turned 90 this year had it not been for a bullet fired by a coward.

The proclamation highlights the civil rights leader’s “special personal and professional ties to Oberlin” — King visited here on several occasions, became an honorary alumnus of Oberlin College in 1965, and was awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

King “have his life for the cause of true justice in our land and for his ‘dream’ that all people of all colors and conditions could live in peace and harmony, and could treat each other and all others with respect,” the proclamation says.

This is far from the first year such a declaration has been made. Honoring king each year has become a tradition in Oberlin, one started in 1971 by town councilman Bob Thomas.

It wasn’t until 15 years later that Congress finally recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday.

King is a continuing inspiration for the people of Oberlin and the entire world, the proclamation says.

A ceremony affirming the city’s dedication to King’s dream of a transformed society will be held at 12:15 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 21 at his namesake park at the corner of South Pleasant and Vine streets.


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