SCHNECKSVILLE, Pa. - A large group of people spent part of their Martin Luther King, Jr. Day listening to a civil rights activist who has left his mark on history.
Terrence Roberts, one of the Little Rock Nine, shared his story at Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC).
The Little Rock Nine were the first African American students to enroll in Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas in 1957. They were met by much opposition.
"The 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army came to take us to school and without the Army being present I do believe without any doubt that we all would have been killed," Roberts told 69 News.
"To hear somebody who was there and helped and was a part of it, it's exciting for me," said Parthenia Mungin, an LCCC student who attended Roberts' event as part of a class.
"Just that that could have even happened and I know that wasn't even that long ago," said LCCC student Jake Wishard, who chose to attend on his own. "I still think about the racial problems we have today in the U.S. and throughout the world."
"I couldn't imagine something better happening today than this," Wishard said about MLK, Jr. Day.
"Martin Luther King is often presented as a man who gave the "I have a dream" speech. That was only one fractional part of what he did in his lifetime," Roberts told 69 News. "His main theme was we as a country have chosen to go down a road that can only lead to destruction. He was trying desperately to pull us back to get us on a new road and we resisted that. We finally killed him because we could not bear the thought of changing the direction that we have chosen to go."
As for how things are now in 2014, Roberts said, "Fundamentally, things have not changed very much at all."
"Any social barometer you can think of, you will find people of color lagging in almost every single one. That to me says we haven't made any real progress," he added. "It is imperative to establish a personal reservoir of information about this country, our history, how we got from the start to where we are now."
Allentown, PA 18102