By Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus, Kabir Khanna and Anthony Salvanto
Fifty years after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, a vast majority of Americans call him a very important historical figure — but most think only some of his goals have been achieved, according to a new CBS News poll.
Eight in 10 Americans say King was a very important figure in American history — including large majorities of both whites (78 percent) and blacks (90 percent). An additional portion of Americans — 15 percent of all Americans, 17 percent of white Americans, and 7 percent of black Americans — say he is "somewhat important."
But for most Americans, there is still work to be done when it comes to achieving King's goals and the goals of the 1960s civil rights era. Just 36 percent of Americans think all or most of the goals have been achieved. Most, including both blacks and whites, think only some of them have been achieved. But black Americans are somewhat more skeptical than whites about how much has been accomplished. While 59 percent of white Americans think just some or almost non of Dr. King's goals have been achieved, that rises to 71 percent among black Americans.
The poll was conducted by phone from March 21 through March 25, among a random sample of 1,010 adults across the nation. The poll was conducted by the polling firm SSRS on behalf of CBS News.