MLK Day Affirmative Action

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The issue of affirmative action is under the microscope again as President Bush challenges the University of Michigan's policies for attracting more minorities to the college.

As stateline residents gather to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it was impossible to ignore the ongoing controversy swirling over affirmative action.

"Whatever an institution is doing to try and equal the playing field, I'm all for it. I do not agree with President Bush," Mark Hunter, Rockford Resident.

Debate over affirmative action on college campuses is an issue that doesn't seem to go away. Leaders at Beloit College say it shouldn't because it's an important of their mission.

"Because we believe a diverse student body contributes so much to a Beloit Education," said Nancy Monnich, Beloit College, Vice President of Enrollment Services.

While Beloit College doesn't have a written affirmative action policy, school officials say it's part of their mission to create a diverse student body and say when affirmative action comes under fire it creates concern.

"I think every college and university needs to keep affirmative action as a part of what they're doing," Monnich said.

Some prospective students think while diversity is important, they say race shouldn't be a factor in determining admission.

"Personally I think good students should get in. It doesn't matter what race or color you. It doesn't matter," said Phil Balzer, prospective student.

College officials say it's about much more than race; it's about creating a student body that's rich with economic, geographic and cultural diversity.

Including international students, 25 percent of the Beloit College student body is minorities or foreigners. Extended Web Coverage

Timeline of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life

  • Michael King, later known as Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929.

  • September 20, 1944, King began his freshman year at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

  • August 6, 1946, the Atlanta Constitution published King's letter to the editor stating that black people "are entitled to the basic rights and opportunities of American citizens."

  • In January and February of 1947 King's article, "The Purpose of Education" was published in the Morehouse student paper, the Maroon Tiger.

  • 1948 was a busy year for Martin Luther King, Jr. In February he was ordained and appointed as the assistant pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

  • In June of 1948, King received his B.A. in Sociology from Morehouse College.

  • In September that same year he began his studies at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Penn.

  • May 1951, King graduated from Crozer with a Bachelor of Divinity degree, and delivered the Valedictory Address at commencement.

  • In September of 1951, he began his graduate studies in systematic theology at Boston University.

  • On June 18, 1953, Martin Luther King, Jr. married Coretta Scott near Marion, Ala.

  • February 28, 1954, King delivers the sermon, "Rediscovering Lost Values" at the Second Baptist Church in Detroit.

  • On September 1, 1954, King begins his pastorate at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala.

  • June 5, 1955 Martin Luther King earns his PhD. in Systematic Theology from Boston University.

  • On December 5, 1955 King becomes the president of MIA, the Montgomery Improvement Association.

  • In February of 1957, Martin Luther King, Jr. appeared on the cover of Time magazine, as Time’s Man of the Year.

  • During the spring of 1963, King and his staff guided mass demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, where local white police officials were known from their anti-black attitudes.

  • Subsequent mass demonstrations in many communities culminated in a march on August 28, 1963, that attracted more than 250,000 protesters to Washington, D. C. Addressing the marchers from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" oration.

  • In December of 1964, King was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, while seeking to assist a garbage workers' strike in Memphis.

  • He died revered by many for his martyrdom on behalf of non-violence, and condemned by others for his militancy and insurgent views.

Source: (The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University)