Remembering a civil rights legend

Published 7:37 pm Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian and leader of the Civil Rights Movement, led the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and brought 250,000 people together on Aug. 28, 1963 to hear his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

He is remembered today as an advocate for civil rights and one who taught love and acceptance among different ethnicities in America and beyond.

Since King’s death, enhanced opportunities regarding education and employment have become available for minorities. Desegregation also continued throughout communities across the United States in the decades following his death, and in 2008, King would’ve seen the first black president elected to office. In 2012, he would’ve seen that president gain another term.

On the other hand, he would’ve also seen new legal debates over voting rights, crime in poor minority neighborhoods, poverty among minorities and the racial divide among Americans over issues like the death of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent death of Mike Brown, leading to the Ferguson unrest.

Although there is still a divide among ethnic groups in the United States, the gap has become smaller than what it once was. King’s dream may not be completely realized, but society trudges closer and closer to it becoming a reality.

This week, in accordance with King’s birthday, celebrations are scheduled to honor his legacy.

One service, hosted by a committee made up of representatives from various churches in the area, will take place on Sunday. The committee, headed by Mt. Hebron Church, Disciples of Christ, member Florence Lodge, believes in the peaceful nature of King and the importance he placed upon trusting in God and working together to accomplish unified goals for the good of the community.

Lodge and the committee also believe in the importance of young people learning to respect and appreciate freedoms and opportunities that they have been blessed with today, based on sacrifices so many past people of different ethnicities have made.

Programs such as the upcoming service allow younger generations to work in harmony with older people to use their creative gifts and talents for the good of humanity, regardless of race, color or creed.

For those interested in honoring the memory of those who believed firmly in human beings working together in peace and harmony for the dignity of humanity, come and celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy, one that all started with a dream.