The University of Arkansas-Fort Smith hosted a number of activities Monday (Jan. 20) to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. including a breakfast and educational sessions followed by a symbolic march across campus.
With many schools and businesses closed for the holiday, people of all ages attended the events. Bobbie Woodard-Jones of Fort Smith said she the day is about so much more than just time off from work or school.
“(The day) is to commemorate Dr. King and the extraordinary amount of work that he did for Civil Rights,” she said.
Clara Shade, who attended the ceremony with her granddaughter, said she enjoyed a session discussing King’s non-violent approach to achieving equality.
“You don’t fight fire with fire,” said Shade.
Shade said she hopes her granddaughter and her friends come to appreciate the importance of King and the path he paved for them.
“That they are a part of that dream that he said he had,” she said. “That they now go to school with different nationalities. I know from my grandbaby, she has many different friends and they don’t all look like her.”
While King is remembered widely on this day, Woodard-Jones said she hopes parents are talking about his accomplishments with their children all year.
“It’s up to us as individuals to continue to teach and continue to make them understand what the Civil Rights movement was all about,” Woodard-Jones said.
Local commemorations continue Monday at 7 p.m. with an Ecumenical prayer service at St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Smith.