How much did King change the South? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

How much did King change the South?

January 17, 2006

Albany -- Since Dr. Martin Luther King marched through the South, many advances have been made in race relations, but several people think that many more may need to be made.

How far have we come in closing the economic gap with white America? "Somewhat, but I still think there's a lot of improvements that could be made, not just with blacks and whites." Kim Smith, an Albany native, says there could also be improvements in the way Hispanics and Indian members of the community are treated, but she doesn't believe there is as much racial tension as there used to be.

"Overall, I think blacks and whites get along well," Smith says, And she gives credit to Dr. King. "I think there would still be a lot of segregation, white only restaurants, black only restaurants. I think we would still have a lot of that if it wasn't for him."

King believed all races should be treated equally, says 11-year old Quantavia Walker. "We should be together all the time, no matter what color we are."

But Christopher Jenkins, a 20-year-old University student says we have a long way to go in the race war. What do you think about race relations and where we are today? "I think we're better, but I still think we have a lot of work to do."

He says every person can make a difference. "They feel like, 'what can I do? I'm just one person.' They still haven't grasped the concept of a team unity thing, people are still hesitant to work together."

Speaking of working, Tony Gray who owns the Southside Supermarket on Martin Luther King Junior Drive says he wouldn't be able to do that if it wasn't for him.

Asked if he thought that without Martin Luther King he would be owning, and other Black business leaders would be owning stores in the community, Gray said, "I don't think so. Without him pushing, without him marching, without the non-violence approach, no I don't think any of us would have anything, especially not here in the south."

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