ASU reflects on MLK national monument

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Well Civil Rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. finally takes his place among the greats of American history. The national monument will be unveiled Sunday, the same date as Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

About 85 Alabama State University Students were planning to witness this historic moment, but the threat of Hurricane Irene canceled the trip. Nonetheless, the university is still reflecting on the impact of the King legacy.

Before the dedication of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Washington DC, it was here in Montgomery where the civil rights movement was birthed and the atmosphere of change was charged.

"I have a dream," Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said.

And 46 years later, that dream is being lived out and honored as the 30 foot statue will stand within feet of the National Mall where he gave his most famous speech.

"When I look back on it, I think he's personally speaking to me," Alabama State University Political Science professor Dr. Byrdie Larkin said.  She will be watching the ceremony on television while her students are writing a research paper about this historic moment and Dr. King's connection to ASU.

"What I try to instill in my students is if you don't know your history, then you're bound to repeat it."

ASU students played a major role in the movement, especially the Montgomery bus boycott which was a pivotal turning point in advancing Dr. King's dream.

"We were here for the civil rights movement, we were the force behind Dr. King. And I want students to relieve their history and let their legacy live on," ASU Student Government Association President Travis Smith said.

20-year-old Jamel Brown, who just lost his bid for Montgomery City Council, will speak to thousands of youth on behalf of Al Sharpton's National Youth in Action Network.

To be able to meet the president and not only meet the president but speak on behalf of Alabama youth, wow! It's going to be, it's like a dream," Brown said.

A dream that's become a reality and hopefully inspiration for young people across the country. "We are ready to move forward and change the world," Brown said.

A world that will see this monument and wall with more than a dozen of his quotes engraved into granite.

"And many of us have embraced that words that he spoke," Dr. Larkin said.

Words of justice, democracy, and hope.

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