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King Institute's Director Speaks at Indiana King Holiday Celebration

Jan 22 2017

A professor of history at Stanford University, Carson served as keynote speaker for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Birthday Dinner, sponsored by the Charles E. Brown African American Cultural Center at Indiana State University. The dinner was attended by about 330 persons Friday night inside ISU’s Sycamore Banquet Center.The last book King was able to write, released in 1967, was titled “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” That question was mentioned during Carson’s speech Friday night.

“I don’t think we’ve answered that question,” Carson told the Tribune-Star. “I think 50 years later, we look back and we see that the things he was trying to accomplish in 1967 and 1968 — ending poverty, stopping wars on the international scene, trying to resolve our nation’s problems civilly and non-violently — all of these things are still works in progress 50 years later.

“So I think that one of the things we should do is reflect on ‘Where do we go from here?’ We’ve had 50 years since the major landmark legislation of the 1960s — the civil rights legislation — but I think Martin Luther King was always cautioning us that that was just the starting place. The question really was ‘Where do we go from that point on?’”

Carson also speculated what King might think about today’s political climate in the United States, on the same day that Donald Trump was sworn in as its 45th president.

“I think he would be distressed that we don’t seem to be moving forward in a positive way,” Carson said. “Sometimes you have a great advance and then you have a step back. You hope that the steps forward more than compensate for the steps back.”

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Clayborne Carson, King Institute