Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today’s post contains a tribute to a Baptist minister who became a civil rights activist. Martin Luther King Jr.On Monday, January 17, 2011, the country will observe ‘Martin Luther King, Jr. Day’ in recognition of his many contributions toward racial equality and the end of discrimination.

Much has been written about his life and accomplishments. His famous speech of August 28, 1963 describes a dream in which his children would one day be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. One U.S. Representative said of the 'I Have A Dream' speech that Dr. King had educated, inspired and informed the people of America and unborn generations.

Those unborn generations are today experiencing—from Dr. King’s words, his ideology, and his courage—the consequences of his actions. To better illustrate my statement, I will clarify my understanding of one word.


Along with such meanings as result, outcome of action, or reaction, the word also means importance, significance, and magnitude; dignity, notability, and prestige. I believe Dr. King’s actions, and the results of his actions, fill any or all of these definitions.

Any novel rooted in the political atmosphere of 1968 will most likely mention Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated in April of that year. A scene in FOR EVERY ACTION, set in the Art Institute of Chicago, involves one person’s reaction to a composite print of Martin Luther King, Jr. flanked by John and Robert Kennedy. In 1968, I was present at a similar scene when a woman voiced her opinion of that particular print on display. Because of my age at the time, I cannot say with any certainty today whether my negative reaction to her outrage was based on the words she used, her emotional state, or my discomfort with her public protest. I want to think it was a mix of all three.

Those of us already born at the time of the African American civil rights movement have also benefited from the nonviolent methods of Dr. King’s teachings. In his role as clergyman, activist, and prominent leader, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Martin Luther King, Jr., has given us all reason to believe we deserve equal rights in our lives, as members of society, as human beings, and as unique individuals. For this alone, Dr. King deserves recognition on his day of observation.


  1. Great post. I am sorry our schools stay open for such a special day. I have a dream that our country will unite and stop being so vicious about the way we sprew out polical emails... and don't seem to care if they are true or not.

  2. Thank you, Sharon. Maybe the tragic shooting deaths in Arizona will accomplish this.

  3. Thank you for this post Gail! @Sharon, I too agree with the lack of respect for ALL persons!

  4. This is a great post, Gail. I wasn't yet born when Dr. King was around, but thankfully I was raised by a mother who believed in equality, regardless of station, religion, skin tone, etc.

    It comes as a shock to me to see that there are still people who don't embrace that mentality...especially in the 21st century!



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