Related: Civil & Human Rights, Politics

Dr. King's Legacy: What's It To You?


Yesterday was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, and the nation will officially observe the occasion on Monday, January 21. In the last two weeks, courtesy of the presidential campaign (more on this below), there’s been a new public discussion about Dr. King’s legacy. Questions about the role of race in American politics, and the unfinished agenda for racial justice and equality have emerged with new sharpness.

What does Dr. King’s legacy mean for you? Let’s have a campus-wide discussion as part of our commemoration of his life and work. Please send me your comments for posting on this blog (send to, or click on the envelope icon below). We’ll also post a comments board in the Well of Main Hall.

Paige Murphy, our Annual Fund Director who is also a graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans, sent me this beautiful message yesterday about the meaning of Dr. King’s legacy in her life:

“Today is the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He would have turned 79 today. As I was driving in to work, I was thinking about what he accomplished during his short time on earth, and I realized that had it not been for his vision, work, struggle and sacrifices, I would most likely not be taking that drive. The Trinity of today would likely not have been possible, we would all probably never have met, and on a personal note, as a Black woman I would not have been able to reach my educational and professional accomplishments. It’s amazing how one life can change the world and the lives of so many. I hope that our students of today realize the impact and that next Monday is more than a day off.”

Dr. King’s legacy became a topic of controversy in the presidential campaign last week when Hillary Clinton gave an interview that implied that President Lyndon Johnson was really responsible for ensuring the success of Dr. King’s legacy through the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Some people felt that this comment was an insult to the leadership of a great African American. You can see an NBC Nightly News clip about this controversy here including a brief interview with Mrs. Clinton’s chief advisor Maggie Williams, Trinity Class of 1977, who was the highest ranking African American in the Clinton White House when she served as Mrs. Clinton’s chief of staff when Hillary was the First Lady.

How about it? What does Dr. King’s legacy mean to you? What do you think about the emerging issues about race and gender in this presidential campaign? Send me your comments by clicking on the envelope icon below or just send an email to

For a rich trove of Dr. King’s papers, speeches and research about him, see the Stanford Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute

Visit The King Center in Atlanta

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: