Today we honor a man who was the face of the civil rights movement from 1954 to 1968 when he was assassinated in 1968. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who advanced civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience. That approach was borne out of his his Christian beliefs and inspired by the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.
Some people don’t think any more of Martin Luther King Day than the fact that it is a holiday and a day off work. Thank goodness, there are many more who recognize the importance of what he did and the need to celebrate and honor that.
And thank goodness that we teach our children and grandchildren the legacy that King left us. I was proud to be active in the Civil Rights Movement in the early sixties with a group that worked toward equality in housing in the Detroit area, and I was very aware of what was going on in Alabama and Mississippi as schools were desegregated, sometimes with horrible violence. If circumstances had allowed, I would have gone with the Freedom Riders to join their efforts.
Since then we have made strides in acceptance and equality, yet prejudice and bigotry continue to impact our society. We have immigration policies that dehumanize people; disparity in the justice system that treats black offenders differently than white; and top government leaders who support organizations like the KKK.
Dr. King’s mission will not be complete until that no longer happens.
In addition to his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which I think should be mandatory reading in schools, Dr. King left us a lot of memorable quotes. This is one of my favorites, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Wonderful words, but only wonderful if we take them to heart and act on them.
That’s all for me for today, folks. I do hope your week has started off well. Be safe. Be happy.