50 years ago: Grief on WSSU's campus

The April 1968 issue of The News Argus offers a glimpse of the reaction on campus.

Fifty years ago this month, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. The news sent shock waves across the world.

The April 1968 issue of The News Argus, the student newspaper for what was then Winston-Salem State College (WSSC), offers a glimpse of the reaction on campus.

According to the article, students took their concerns to downtown Winston-Salem, staging a peaceful march soon after the assassination on April 4, 1968. The next morning, a memorial service was held for Dr. King in Fries Auditorium with President K.R. Williams and Student Body President Lewis Turner and others expressing their grief.

The article concludes with quotes from students and their reaction.

"When awakened by the news of Dr. King's death, I sobbed silently. My heart was saddened at the thought of his four children who are now fatherless because of malice, hate and violence." Julia Rivers, a junior from Asheville

"My reaction to Dr. King's death was one of shock and disbelief. Society has found comfort in saying that a sick mind. was responsible for this act of violence, but society must also ask who and what factor contributed to the sickness. In my opinion, this great democracy of ours must take a second look at itself and ask if we are the great and just civilization we claim to be and if the American dream is ever to become a reality in this country.” — Leslie Kimbrough, a sophomore from Winston-Salem

"When I heard that Dr. King had been shot, I prayed that he would live. After hearing the announcement of his death, I realized that Negroes had lost a great leader, but the white man had lost his best friend." — Betty Atkinson, a senior from Wilmington

READ MORE: WSSU alumni reflect on the legacy of Dr. King (Winston-Salem Journal).

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