A man remembered by the life in his years

Published 5:25 am Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Last week, I received a call from Mrs. Cleo Eugene from St. James Parish. She shared that she reads my articles weekly and enjoys them.  She asked if I would consider writing an article about the life of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.  I’ve always considered Mr. King one of the bravest men in American History and have written about his accomplishments many times.

Over 60 years ago, Mr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.  The 17-minute speech is regarded as one of the finest in the history of America.

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.

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.  Because of his nonviolent approach, many didn’t support the march. 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 is not remembered by the years in his life, but by the life in his years.

In 1963, he was named Time’s Person of the Year and 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 award 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.

Yes, African-Americans have made great strides in the past 50 years, but many have used his labor of love to promote their personal agendas.  Many of the younger generation have neglected to take advantage of the freedoms for which he died.  I think he would be disappointed with some of the leaders of today.

It’s been said that when a man dies, he will either leave a mark or a stain by which he will be remembered.  Martin Luther King, Jr. has left a mark that completely changed the face of America.

 

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