MLK demonstrated spirit of unity
With our country now experiencing the most racial division in my lifetime, I thought it would be appropriate to write about Martin Luther King Jr. and the legacy for which he lived and died.
In part, he said that he had a dream deeply rooted in the American dream that all men are created equal. His dream was that one day his four little children would live in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Those words by Mr. King were spoken in front of over 250,000 people. At the time, it was the largest gathering of protesters in Washington, D.C.’s history. I was preoccupied with the small picture of those times rather than the big picture that he dreamed of.
During that time, I was 28 years old and running for a seat in the state legislature.
I’m ashamed to admit that as one of the greatest movements in American history was being written, I didn’t realize the impact it would have on our country.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience. Malcolm X called the march the “Farce on Washington” and his followers were forbidden to attend.
Mr. King was killed in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 39. I’m reminded that a man isn’t remembered by the years in his life, but by the life in his years.
In 1963, he was named Time Person of the Year. King was the first African-American and first non-president honored with his own memorial in the National Mall area.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom was posthumously awarded to Mr. King by President Jimmy Carter. The citation read: “Martin Luther King, Jr. was the conscience of his generation.” Another of the many recognitions he received was being second in Gallup’s List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century.
He was one of the bravest and most courageous men in my lifetime. I think he would be disappointed at the condition of our society today.
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