Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Reflecting on the Day's Significance

Bronze bust of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Bronze bust of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by renowned artist Sascha Schnittmann at SJSU’s King Library (Photo: Christina Olivas).

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

No single quote, photo or film of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. can encapsulate all that he accomplished in the name of human rights. A non-violent journey he began as a young man in service to his congregation, community and home state carried messages that resonated deeply across our nation, around the world and through time. Indeed, he was a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

We are reminded of this when we cross our campus and pass by “Victory Salute,” the monument by artist Rigo23 that our students commissioned in memory of San Jose State alumni and Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who took a stand for human rights at the 1968 Olympics, six months after King’s assassination.

The “Victory Salute” sculpture and SJSU’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library makes us proud of our legacy and reminds us of King’s support of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. Today, we take a moment to reflect on this day’s significance.

Photo by David Schmitz

Share King’s message with your family and motivate them to make change in their own world by attending one of these Bay Area events, hear King’s words and do good as he would have done. The civil rights leader’s journey continues.

As San Jose State and its Institute or the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we recognize the significant impact athlete-activists can have on sport and society. Emerging corporate partnerships featuring athlete-activists represent another challenge to traditional notions of the role of sport in society. Through our research, programming and educational efforts, our institute members and affiliates will continue to engage with athlete-activism and other critical issues. Collectively, we aim to foster a better understanding of these complex social phenomena, promote thoughtful dialogues and facilitate positive social change.