WUFT News

UF professor discusses life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

By and on January 18th, 2014

As local residents gear up for service projects, speeches and events about Martin Luther King, Jr., this Monday, University of Florida Director of African-American Studies Sharon Austin shared her insight on the civil rights leader’s life.

“I think that a lot of students don’t really know a whole lot about Dr. King,” she said.

Austin said the knowledge most students have about King is primarily from footage showing the civil rights movement during the 1950s and early 1960s, but they are unaware of “the way his philosophy has changed in the years before his death.”

Austin discussed King’s views against the Vietnam War, his emphasis on Northern discrimination against blacks and his efforts to combat economic discrimination and poverty — all of which, she said, most students may not have heard of.

Throughout his life, Austin said King was faced with criticism from both the black and white communities. Being dubbed an “opportunist,” the blacks who criticized him claimed that he was taking credit away from fellow civil-rights activists.

Austin said society’s perception of King today is more positive, and he is widely considered a martyr.

Austin said that after King’s death, opportunities for blacks opened dramatically including the right to vote and the integration of blacks into the American middle-class.

When asked about how King would feel knowing a holiday was established in his honor, she said he would be flattered but “it would not have been something that he would have asked for.”

“It wasn’t so much about him getting recognized for his service,” she said. “It was more so about just making America a better place.”

Austin said King would be proud of the civil-rights activism taking place in today’s society — most notably during the Trayvon Martin case that took place last year — and encouraged locals to use Monday as a day of service.

“In regards to civil rights, there still are a lot of battles and a lot of challenges,” she said. “But I think we’re headed in a much more positive direction with every decade as a result of the work of Dr. King and people like him.”


This entry was posted in University of Florida and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in University of Florida

ShanksGooden

Shots Fired Near UF Dorm: Two People In Custody

One person who was carrying a firearm is in police custody after shots were fired at a Murphree Hall parking lot, according to an alert sent out by the university. Police continue to look for two witnesses in a blue Mazda truck last seen heading north away from campus.


Faculty Negotiator: Administration’s Newest Salary Offer Not Enough To Keep UF Competitive

University of Florida faculty representatives are not satisfied with the Board of Trustees’ most recent pay-raise offer of 2.5 percent. The two sides will meet again on July 30, said John Biro, lead faculty negotiator and UF philosophy professor.


Members of the University of Florida chapter of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity are under investigation after spitting on and taking flags from wounded veterans. The students and veterans were in Panama City Beach when the incident occurred.

Investigation Clears UF ZBT Members

Investigations found no evidence that UF’s Zeta Beta Tau chapter mistreated wounded veterans in Panama City Beach, according to a UF report released Thursday. A hearing later this summer will determine whether the chapter will be eligible to reopen, according to UF spokesperson Janine Sikes.


UF PaCE Complicates Applications To Professional Schools

The UF Pathway to Campus Enrollment program offers students admission to in-person classes after they complete UF Online courses and earn a total of 60 credits. Out of the 3,118 students who were admitted to PaCE, only 272 have accepted so far.


Members of the University of Florida chapter of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity are under investigation after spitting on and taking flags from wounded veterans. The students and veterans were in Panama City Beach when the incident occurred.

Panama City Beach Police Find ZBT Members Acted Inappropriately

Panama City Beach Police concluded in their investigation that Zeta Beta Tau fraternity members did act inappropriately toward veterans during their spring formal, no charges were filed. Members of the fraternity allegedly spit on flags and took them from wounded veterans while staying at the Laketown Wharf Resort.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments