A pillar of the community. A
civil rights activist. A leader. A glimmer of hope for a nation that someday
freedom would be granted for all, regardless of race, creed or origin.
Martin Luther King Jr.
embodied all of these things, and, for that, King became part of our history
and our legacy.
On Jan. 16, President Barack
Obama proclaimed Jan. 20, 2014, as Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“Each year, America sets aside
a day to remember a giant of our nation’s history and a pioneer of the Civil
Rights Movement,” Obama said during the proclamation. “During his lifelong
struggle for justice and equality, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave mighty
voice to the quiet hopes of millions, offered a redemptive path for oppressed and
oppressors alike and led a nation to the mountaintop. Behind the bars of a
Birmingham jail cell, he reminded us that ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to
King taught us that “an individual
has not started living, until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic
concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity,” he said.
“Today, let us put aside our
narrow ambitions, lift up one another and march a little closer to the nation
Dr. King envisioned,” Obama said.
King had a dream – the dream
of improving equal rights. His non-violent activism and protests against racial
discrimination helped our country realize a better future, become a better
nation and become a better Army.
Today, in large part
because of King and other civil rights activists throughout our history, African-Americans
play a vital role in our Army’s success and Fort Riley’s history.
The 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments
– better known as “Buffalo Soldiers” – were stationed at Fort Riley at various times
in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
On July 26, 1948, President
Harry Truman declared there will be equality of treatment and opportunity for
all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or
national origin. The milestones are many for African-American Soldiers who have
worn the shield of the “Big Red One.”
Fort Riley honored King during
a Jan. 22 observance. The nation and Fort Riley will continue to celebrate the achievements
of King and of our diverse population by observing February as Black History
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