EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a revised version of a brief piece that was published on TheBayNet.com in 2008. A great deal has changed since then, but the message of what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for has remained constant. We wanted to honor his holiday with the following from our archives.
WASHINGTON — Since his assassination in 1968, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has remained a focal point for millions of people. His non-violent approach to effecting social change might seem lost in today’s society, but the fact is, the once humble preacher transformed the landscape of America forever with his determined peaceful approach to radical change.
Perhaps it is fitting today that nearly every major city across the country has a street, school or park named after him. Even more evident of his life’s work is the change in how Americans think about each other.
King was a man of exceptional courage who demonstrated his belief in non-violence with steadfast dedication, despite the myriad obstacles he faced along his sojourn toward equality for all men and women. In his 13 years in the national spotlight, from 1955 until his murder on April 4, 1968, King faced death threats. His home was bombed, he was hounded by law enforcement agencies, including J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, even after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
King’s famous words, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” lives on in the hearts and minds of many.
Since his murder, many doors have been opened for minorities and people of color that had previously been closed. The United States has seen a black man hold the country’s highest office, and now a female of color in the second highest spot.
It’s been 54 years since one man made it all possible through a seemingly impossible dream of change. Tolerance will continue to open the door to freedom and equality for all Americans.
We hope everyone will treat their neighbors and community with kindness, tolerance, and respect. Through those means, we can embrace the dream that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had many years ago.