Fort Riley, Kansas



‘Durable’ brigade hosts Martin Luther King Jr. observance

By Spc. Walter Carroll | 1ST INF. DIV. SUST. BDE. PUBLIC AFFAIRS | January 29, 2018

     The 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade hosted an observance in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 17 at Barlow Theater.

     The observance was a reflection on the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka and the civil rights movement leading up to the legacy of King. The observance started with a performance by the 1st Infantry Division Band where they performed three songs to pay tribute to the King’s life and legacy. The songs performed were “Love’s in Need of Love Today” by Stevie Wonder, “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye and “People Get Ready” by The Impressions. Spc. Kira McLean, a vocalist with the “Big Red One” band, performed the songs.

     “These songs represent (King) and what he stood for,” McLean said. “He stood for love, he stood for peace and he stood for equality. He was a symbol of hope and faith for all of those who suffered injustices.”

     After the performance by the band, the observance continued with a discussion and history lesson from the guest speaker, Joan Wilson, a park ranger at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kansas.

     “There’s a rich history in this part of the country,” Wilson said.

     According to Wilson, during the years of segregation Kansas did not want to be viewed as the South, so while the state legalized segregation, it was only used in certain situations.

     Sgt. 1st Class Daralyn Williams-Saulsberry, equal opportunity advisor, 1st Inf. Div. Sust. Bde., gave her insight on the observance and the legacy of King and the civil rights movement.

     “I believe it was a good opportunity for all Soldiers regardless of race to attend the MLK day observance and to hear the history of Martin Luther King Jr. and how he impacted civil rights for all people,” Williams-Saulsberry said.

     Just as King’s legacy opened minds, so did the observance.

     “I had a few Soldiers who told me this was a great observance and they would like to attend other observances and how they learned so much within that hour of the event,” Williams-Saulsberry said.

     The country has come a long way in granting equal rights for all and fair treatment, the equal opportunity advisor said. Williams-Saulsberry said she thought about what it would be like today had it not been for King’s influence and the civil rights movement.

     “I think that the country would still be segregated,” Williams-Saulsberry said. “People of color would still be treated as second-class citizens. Inequality and injustices would still exist to a higher degree; it still exists now but not as much. People of color, (their) civil rights would be violated daily and America would not be great.”

      Although she reflected on what the country could have been, she had thoughts on today and hopeful words for the future.

      “We have come a long way in history and we must not forget all the great leaders in history that have influenced and have impacted equal rights for all Americans regardless of race,” Williams-Saulsberry said. “If we live to the standards and courage they did, we all can make a difference in the world and in the military.”


Tag EO Observances