Fresno State Professor Reflects on MLK

4/4/2008 Fresno, CA Fresno State Professor Julius Bailey said he's hopes a whole new generation of teachers in this class will pass on the legacy of the civil rights leader who changed the country forever. "I'm not optimistic but I'm hopeful because if I give up hope I give up that spirit that live in me plus I have to keep fighting, keep agitating students," said Julius Bailey.

Without that vision, senior Sharon Montelongo said she wouldn't even be sitting in this class about diversity. "Coming back to school was a dream to get a degree was a dream I had. He made that possible for a lot of Hispanics, Blacks and people of all nationalities."

For nearly all of the students who pass by this tribute to Dr. King on campus everyday, he is merely a name in the history books, someone who lived and died decades before they were born.

But Bailey said the presidential race has some in this younger generation looking back at the man who sacrificed his life for a cause on this day 40 years ago. "You got a female and African American male that's viable options for the Presidency of the United States. What do you think King would had said today about the State of America?" ask Bailey, "Possibly because of him we have the option to have a black President and maybe before him we would have never had that."

Bailey, who was married by Barack Obama's controversial former minister Jeremiah Wright, said he thinks Dr. King would be pleased with Obama's unprecedented opportunity. He also said he thinks if Dr. King had lived he would still be a man of God; Fighting a new kind of poverty and a new war.

Junior Nick Pelham said he wishes his generation had a Martin Luther King Junior. "You don't see uprisings like they had back in the 60's, which is sad. I wish we did. I wish there was something that we were doing. I think that Martin Luther King Jr. was a catalyst for that."

For now, Bailey said Dr. King's struggle for equality continues.

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