One morning in 1968, I woke up to find my mother crying. She was standing in front of the television. She turned to me and simply said, "They killed Martin Luther King." I'll never forget those words, even though I had no idea who "they"were or even who Martin Luther King was. I was 4 years old. I just remember how sad she was, so I cried too.

This is my earliest memory of MLK. It would be years before I discovered his contributions to the world. While his name is synonymous with "race relations," I think his greatest wish was simply for "peace."

You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would publicly say, "I don't agree with MLK or his thoughts." Everyone is on board with MLK and his teachings. Except. Except?

Except it's been less than 10 years that all 50 states have celebrated a federal holiday in his honor, even though the bill was signed in 1983.

Except the planned Martin Luther King Memorial on the Mall, near the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial, keeps running into obstacles.

Except the King Center in Atlanta has fallen into a state of disarray and disrepair.

Except every Martin Luther King Street, Avenue, or Boulevard that I've ever been on in any city in America, looks war-torn.

Is this how we honor someone who made great strides worldwide? Is this how we hold someone in high public esteem? Something just doesn't seem right...

Your comments--priceless!

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2 Responses
  1. cmiles Says:

    I remember when Dr. King died back in 1968...we were living in Memphis at the time, my Dad was in the Army away, my Grandparents lived a few blocks away...My Mom couldnt stop crying, and the whole neighborhood was totally saddened and angry...I was little, all I knew is someone very important died, but didnt quite know who he was. Years have gone by since then and I still have those memories. Then they made a day for him, I was happy, except not every state seemed to want a day for this amazing man. It took almost 20 yrs for all 50 states to say ok, fine. I wonder does it always take the majority this long to let go of some of their prejudices, and beliefs. I for one can only hope for a better tomorrow, for everyone, and will keep doing the little I can to make whatever contribution that I can to make not only this country but the world a better place.

  2. catladysd Says:

    Unfortunately, change doesn't always go hand in hand with acceptance. Although this country had experienced great change in the 60s and wonderful new leadership, that didn't look the same as what the country was used to, spoke out and brought people together. Dr. King was an anomaly, bringing forth change, not only of laws, but of ideas and beliefs. But acceptance was not 100% and sadly tragedy walked hand in hand with this new beginning.

    I see Dr. King's dream coming true. I pray that the acceptance of President Obama by so many will further the acceptance of all people as equal human beings.

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