Texas State students march in the Quad in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The group marched Jan. 22 from Old Main to the LBJ Student Center.
As the sun set behind Old Main Tuesday night, hundreds of students and faculty members gathered to remember the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Some members of the crowd held white candles as they set out on a trek toward the LBJ Student Center. Others crooned old gospel hymns or carried signs reading phrases such as “The Dream Lives On.” The Freedom March had begun.
The Black Student Alliance organizes and runs the annual Freedom March at Texas State in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Darius Jones, Black Student Alliance President, said the Jan. 22 event marked the 28th time the march has been held.
“If it weren’t for (Martin Luther King), I would not be able to attend this great university,” Jones said. “For me, it’s a day of remembrance and opportunity.”
The Gospel Expressions group played the most vocal role in the march. Aside from singing in the march from Old Main to the student center, many of the members held strong opinions about what Martin Luther King Day means to them.
“(Martin Luther King) was the greatest example of courage in the face of your own failures, mortalities and everything,” said Erin English, music junior.
English said King possessed amazing amounts of courage when confronted by people who wanted to harm him.
“He was constantly confronted with the fact that he could be assassinated (or) persecuted,” English said. “He was one of the few people in our history that everyone could point to and say ‘he stood up for what he believed was right.’”
After walking across campus from Old Main, students and faculty filed into the LBJ Ballroom and sat down to watch a series of performances. The performances ranged from a jazz band to a Latin dance group to a student rapper. Texas State’s VocaLibre covered a South African freedom song about ending apartheid, which received a standing ovation.
Master of Ceremonies Scott Richards quoted King and spoke about the principles the civil rights leader advocated.
“Dr. King told us to stand up for what is right, just and fair,” Richards said.
Presidentspoke to the crowd about how King’s life and legacy fit in with this year’s Common Experience theme, “A Global Odyssey.”
“Present day global concerns remind us of Dr. King’s dream,” Trauth said.
King’s dream was one of opportunity and equality, and Texas State’s role helps to fulfill that, Trauth said. She said education is a “great equalizer,” and the university strives to keep freedoms alive.
The Freedom March came to a close after a video presentation depicting various human rights advocates from different nations and eras.
Reactions to the night’s events were positive. Jones said he was “surprised and pleased” with the day’s events and is looking forward to next year’s Freedom March.
“It’s so rewarding when you see everyone in the audience wearing their MLK shirts,” Jones said. “(I see them) smiling, clapping (and) enjoying the performances. That’s how I know it’s been a successful event.”