The majority of college students are aware of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his vision for "racial justice and brotherhood." The rest, however, are not quite clear on what he worked to achieve.
A recent survey of college students on U.S. civil literacy showed that more than 81 percent knew of King and his work while most of the others thought he was advocating the abolition of slavery.
Conducted by the University of Connecticut's Department of Public Policy for the nonprofit Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the study suggests that schools may be falling short in teaching more than just a "cursory history lesson,” the Washington Post reported.
The average score in the survey among more than 14,000 college freshmen and seniors across the country was 53.2 percent.
Martin Luther King Day is one of 10 federal holidays or another day off from school or work.
Some students fear that King's message of nonviolence and dream are fading away.
And many believe the civil rights leader's work for peace and justice remains unfinished.
"Thousands of black and Latino students drop out of high school believing education will not matter and statistics say it doesn't because they can't find jobs," said Mayor Shirley Franklin at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Monday, according to The Associated Press. "What's going on?"
The Rt. Rev. Thomas L. Hoyt, bishop of Christian Methodist Episcopal Church's Seventh Episcopal District, reminded believers of the impact of King's dream on young people at an interfaith prayer service on Sunday.
"The vision inspired young people and children in America to face the dogs, the tear gas ... policemen for the sake of liberation ... It inspires oppressed people all over the world."
This year’s Martin Luther King Day was the 21st, and what would have been King’s 78th birthday. His wife, Coretta Scott King died last year on Jan. 31 at age 78. This was the first year the holiday was observed without her.