Bloomington community reflects on Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and legacy



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Elvis J. Stahr Jr., then-president of IU, wrote a letter to the University community the evening of King’s death emphasizing his shock and sadness in wake of the death. “His courage, his eloquence, the nobility of his aims and of his life should inspire men and women of every race to re-double our determination to put away hate forever,” Stahr wrote. He invited the community to the following day’s memorial service. In his letter, Stahr said all flags on campus would be flown at half-staff, and he encouraged faculty members to observe a period of silent meditation in their Friday classes. IU Archives Buy Photos

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968, in Tennessee. In 1986, the third Monday of January was first observed as a national holiday in honor of the reverend and civil rights activist. The holiday is celebrated as a "day on, not a day off," according to the Corporation for National and Community Service. The timing of the holiday falls around King’s birthday on January 15. To honor King’s memory, the Indiana Daily Student is taking a look back on April 5, 1968, when a University memorial service at the IU Auditorium commemorated King the afternoon following his death.



A previous headline for this article incorrectly stated 50 years ago the campus community mourned the death of Martin Luther King Jr. The holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated in honor of his birthday in January, but he was not mourned until his death in April 1968. The IDS regrets this error.

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