Local professor reflects on Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Local professor reflects on Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

Many stopped on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination to reflect on how far we have come as a nation and how far we have yet to go.

Richard Breaux, Associate Professor of Ethnic and Racial Studies at UW-La Crosse, says history tends to run in cycles. Reviewing African American history from the Jim Crow Laws to the Civil Rights Movement to Barack Obama serving as President of the United States, Breaux describes society as part of an ongoing hamster wheel.

"I see history kind of going in a cycle where you have these moments of what some people would call political progress in terms of the United States reckoning with its racial history and that past, and then, at the same time, we relive some of the worst parts of that not long after," he said.

Breaux says it was Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of non-violence that attracted many in society; however, he says the Civil Rights leader stood for other lesser known causes.

"We don't talk about the fact that he began to focus his attention on socioeconomic class," Breaux said. "He began to focus his attention on opposing the Vietnam War. "

Events continue around the country as people celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and reflect on the state of race relations in our nation.

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