MLK Day and HHS Alumnus

MLK Day and HHS Alumnus

Collin Cardot, Reporter

Martin Luther King Jr. day happened recently, and I had the honor of interviewing an HHS alum and Civil
Rights Museum Educator & Lead Tour Guide. He has worked at the museum for a long time and has met a lot of
interesting people. I asked him these questions:
1. What is the importance of MLK day in a city like Memphis?
MLK Day is important in every city. Dr. King’s message to fight racism and discrimination for all people and to do it
nonviolently is extremely important in our society today. Dr. King would want the Holiday in his name to be a day
of service. A day where Americans all over the globe will strive to do something productive and with to purpose for
a better change. For Memphis, it’s extremely important to acknowledge and reflect on his legacy because he
was assassinated here on April 4, 1968.

2.  Would you consider Memphis a progressive city in terms of racial tension?
Memphis has been at a crossroads concerning racism for a long time. I think that Memphis has come to terms that
there is discrimination regarding not only race, but sexual orientation, and religion. Memphis has made great and
positive strides concerning the issue of race in the last 50 years. However, it is still a victim of severe systemic
racism that will continue to be a never-ending fight to succeed.

3.  Who is the coolest person you've met on the job?
As an employee here and a historian, I’ve been blessed meeting many dignitaries and celebrities. As a huge
basketball fan, I’ve enjoyed meeting Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, Coach Anfernee Penny Hardaway, NBA
Commissioner Adam Silver and NFL great Peyton Manning. I was given the opportunity to meet Vice-President Joe
Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder. I am also blessed to have met all of Dr. King’s children, the daughter of
Robert F. Kennedy, Congressman John Lewis and UN Ambassador Andrew Young.

4. What could people learn from MLK, even today?
I believe the message that us as citizens today can learn from Dr. King is that violence will never win. In the 1960s,
those who were against Dr. King and racial equality would resort to violence that would in many cases result in
death. It was these martyrs who lives were sacrificed that propelled major Civil Rights legislation that ended legal
segregation in public facilities and accommodations.