EDITORIAL: Dr. King paid a heavy price

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Monday marks the annual celebration of the life and accomplishments of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man about whom it is said gave his all for the cause of freedom.

King came along at a time when racial division was a plague upon the nation. Children today cannot comprehend America in the 1950s and early 1960s, when everything was segregated. This extended far beyond jobs and housing and hotels and restaurants. It extended to such ridiculous extremes as drinking fountains and restrooms.

Many people living remember going to a movie and having to sit in a separate balcony, having made use of a side entrance.

It took people like Rosa Parks, who was on a bus and exhausted from a long day’s work as a domestic and refusing to stand to allow a white passenger to sit in her place, to place the problem in focus. It gave a face to the evil which cursed the nation.

King acted in that moment to awaken the people, to give voice to protest and to take a non-violent, yet effective approach to correcting the situation.

For this, he received a Nobel Peace Prize. For this, he was gunned down on the balcony of a Memphis, Tenn. motel room.

Yet, in his greatest speech before thousands in Washington D.C., he taught all Americans to judge each other on their character, not their skin color. It may not seem so now, but when that speech was made, it was a radical and dangerous notion.

It was so dangerous a notion, it cost King his life. Yet, because he voiced that Christian idea, he became a martyr to those same beliefs which moved Christ to His sacrifice.

Ideas can be hazardous things. The wrong idea can lead you to loss of everything good and right. The right idea can lead you to immortality.