Saratoga Springs Honors Martin Luther King’s Legacy with a Silent March

Saratoga Springs Honors Martin Luther King’s Legacy with a Silent March

April 4 marked the fiftieth anniversary  of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. In towns all across the country, demonstrations were held to honor his legacy. Saratoga Springs was no exception to these sentiments, and held a silent march and vigil downtown.

The march adopted a similar tone to the march that happened exactly fifty years ago. Four days after Dr. King was killed in Tennessee, his widow and children marched in stoic silence down the grief-stricken, mourning streets of Memphis. Half a decade later, crowds of Saratogians followed suit, braving the cold and bitter winds for their cause. Marching down Broadway, the people held posters that read “Honor King: End Racism” in bold black lettering.

 Braving the cold April day, the crowd held up signs that added to the cause.

Braving the cold April day, the crowd held up signs that added to the cause.

As the group reached Bethesda Church at the end of Broadway, the church bells pealed at 6:05 p.m., signifying the exact moment that Dr. King was shot fifty years earlier. They rang out again at 7:05 p.m. to mark the moment that he was pronounced dead.

 The reverend greets an attendee of the march at the entrance of Bethesda Church.

The reverend greets an attendee of the march at the entrance of Bethesda Church.

Inside the church, the crowd clustered around the front as rousing songs were sung in remembrance of the late Dr. King’s legacy. These were followed by speeches from the reverend and pastor of the church. The service concluded with an audio clip of Dr. King’s famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech that reverberated around the church space. Eyes shut, arms linked, the crowd listened intently. Tears streamed down some faces, while hopeful glows illuminated others.

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 The crowd came together to sing songs of hope during the vigil.

The crowd came together to sing songs of hope during the vigil.

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 As an audio clip of Dr. King’s 'I Have a Dream' speech was played, the crowd fell silent.

As an audio clip of Dr. King’s 'I Have a Dream' speech was played, the crowd fell silent.

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 Young people and older members of the community from all walks of life linked hands in solidarity.

Young people and older members of the community from all walks of life linked hands in solidarity.

The Honor King: End Racism silent vigil that pooled together a commendable crowd of people was organized by religious leaders and community organizations—among which, was MLK Saratoga. For years, the organization has campaigned for change and social justice they say is long overdue.

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The impressive turnout also consisted of several of Skidmore's own faculty and students. It was heartening to see members of the Skidmore community and larger public pay tribute to the long fight for racial equality and calling out injustices still seen today.

Dr. King’s message of hope and justice has certainly paved the way for significant changes in the last fifty years, but much work remains to be done. Racial profiling and police brutality still occur in numerous communities across the nation. Closer to home, KKK flyers once littered the same Broadway streets along which activists marched in silence. This march and vigil could not have occurred at a timelier moment, reminding us that the fight for equality is far from over.

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