Wednesday marked a somber day in our nation's history -- the 44th anniversary of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's assassination.
King was fatally shot by James Early Ray on April 4, 1968 on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. King was known as one of the greatest civil rights leaders and for his tireless fight for equality for the entire human race.
"It seems pretty bad that someone would hate someone enough to kill them and I guess they though at the time that if they got rid of him, they would get rid of the ideals that he was trying to put forth," said National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Amarillo branch Treasurer, Clem Whitaker. "But it didn't."
Other members of the Amarillo NAACP reflected on King's life work and the memory of him that they feel should still be very alive in all of us.
"He was not just for blacks. He was for the entire (human) race, the whole United States, everybody," said NAACP member Joe Young. "It should be done by all of us, to remember him because that's a day that a lot of people sort of lost hope."
But 44 years later, that hope for equality lives on and sadly, so does the fight for it. Current events like the shooting of young, black Trayvon Martin in Florida and the political troubles of the 2012 Presidential Election, Whitaker said, are evidence that racial struggles are still present in our country.
"We can see what happened in Florida, we can see what is happening with the issues pertaining to the Presidential Election," said Whitaker. "We haven't gotten beyond it yet, it's better than it was some years ago but we haven't gotten beyond it because it always comes up and this is one of the issues that is hard to confront."
Even though there may still be areas of imperfection, Young felt it's important that we continue to strive for equality and continue to teach our youth about King and the dream that he lived and died for.
"We would like to carry this legacy on and I don't think there will ever come a time and a day when this will cease," Young said. "It will always be here but we need to love one another and stand together regardless of race, color or creed."
Assassin James Earl Ray first evaded arrest but was eventually caught, arrested and charged with the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.