Strider: eradicate injustices exposed by Dr. M.L. King

Colby Bicentennial Seal 1964-2013

April 1968


President Robert E.L. Strider, speaking at Waterville memorial service following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

May I propose here that the finest tribute our community of Waterville could pay to Dr. King’s memory would be a resolve, as a municipality and as a community of rational and civilized human begins, to do all in our power henceforth to eradicate the injustices that Dr. King and others have worked so unremittingly, spoken so eloquently, and paid so tragically to try to eliminate.

We do not have a “race problem” in Waterville of the sort that exists in the south and the ghettos of the north. But we do have injustice and poverty and inequality of opportunity. And since we are all Americans together, the problems of the south and of the ghettos are our problems. No man is an island, and each of us is diminished by Dr. King’s death and the manner of it.

As observed on that earlier devastating weekend, “every tragedy leaves us with a sense of forlornness at first, a shattering reminder of the frailty of the human condition. But (as the Greek tragedians know) a tragic experience also reminds us that, when the numbness has abated, life must go on.” We cannot bring back Dr. King or what has died with him. But we can try to bring meaning out of unmeaning, order out of our chaos. We can dedicate ourselves to achieving what he tried to achieve. May we each do our part, individually and together, to give reality to Dr. King’s dream.