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Tuesday, January 17, 2012


     Today is a federal holiday that was created for the purpose of celebrating the life of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. I must say at the outset that I am caucasian and so my comments may betray a certain bias. I have strong opinions on the issue of race relations in contemporary America, however, I will not disclose them here. I write this to honor the man on his day.
     Dr. King was a man who was clearly a profile in courage. Dr. King saw that a large segment of Black Americans were denied their God given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Dr. King further saw that black people were not receiving their due as full American citizens and devoted his life to correcting this travesty.

     As we all know, Dr. King gave a speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. It was probably his most famous speech, his "I HAVE A DREAM" speech.
     One of the things he dreamed was his children living in a country where they were judged "...not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." That's a great dream! I too share this dream! All people should be judged by the content of their character. I wonder how Dr. King would assess how we are doing regarding this dream.
     In the mid sixties, 1965 to be precise, the Voting Rights Act was passed. This act ended the disenfranchisement of Black Americans, particularly in the American south. This too is part of Dr. King's legacy. Dr. King believed that all Americans, regardless of skin color, were entitled to exercise ALL the privileges of citizenship, including the right to vote. I agree with Dr. King on this score as well.
     Dr. King engaged in civil disobedience in protest of the injustice that was rampant across the south. Dr. King was repeatedly arrested and beaten for his actions in protesting the treatment of Black Americans as less than full citizens. The remarkable thing about Dr. King is that he absolutely refused to engage in violence against those who physically abused him or any of his followers. It must have taken enormous discipline and patience to not respond in kind to the violence that was visited upon him and his followers.

        Dr. King was a man of God. He was an ordained minister. He was a man of prayer. He was a man of the Book. I am certain that Dr. King had his flaws, as do all men. However, his flaws do not diminish the legacy of the man. Dr. King is an American hero and patriot.
     So I honor the life and memory of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on this holiday. I pray that the dreams that Dr. King spoke of on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on that August day in 1963 comes to pass in our country in our lifetime. Thank you, Dr. King!

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