Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Commemorating the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.


In August of 1963, a massive march on Washington, D.C., was organized to express outrage at the prevalence of racism in the United States and to push for national desegregation. At this event, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his now famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In this speech, he described his hopes for our great nation to be a nation of equality — a county united as one people. On that day, he spoke for every man and woman of every creed, color, and culture. He was the voice for every individual who had a dream.

Monday, January 19th is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This is a day set aside for reflection on the life of this influential figure in our nation’s history as well as the ideals he stood for. It is a day for us to commemorate the legacy of Dr. King and serves as a reminder of how he was a model of courage, truth, justice, compassion, humility, and service.

On April 3, 1968 Dr. King delivered a speech in Memphis, Tenn. in which he said, “I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the Promised Land.”

The following evening, Dr. King was on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. At 6:01 p.m., a shot rang out, killing the man who inspired so many with his dedication to nonviolent demonstrations. Even after his death, however, his work continued as many of his followers were further inspired to continue the national movement for a society blind to the color of people’s skin.

During the nearly four decades since Dr. King’s death, our country has made great strides towards equality for all. His work continues to inspire many to fight for human rights and the end of all prejudices.

(The author, Jason Crowell, is a state senator from Cape Girardeau, Mo. This was his column for the week of Jan. 12-18.)

No comments: