Reflection on the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King, Where For Art Thou Dream?

On January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, a boy was born.  His name was  Martin, and he grew up  a highly spiritual man and a brilliant and creative strategist.  Martin Luther King, Jr. was a gifted composer of voice orchestration; his speeches were an auditory overture.  The words he spoke waltzed with spirit and touched my heart.  His words relieved me from the stress of being Black in America; he made me feel proud, enthusiastic and optimistic.  Dr. King’s messages of peace united red, yellow, black and white, and all were equal in his sight.  He spoke of love for the rainbow of humanity.

It is now 2013 and this April 4th will be the 45th anniversary of the day that James Earl Ray shot and killed Dr. King the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Hotel I wonder if he would be pleased with how close to reality his dream has come.

I wonder what he would say about the deafening silence of the freedom bells from the mountains of New York, the elevating Alleghenies of Pennsylvania, the ice-covered Rockies of Colorado, the geometric curves in California, the Mountain of Stone in Georgia, the Mountain from which you see out in Tennessee or the hills where moles live in Jim Crow’s Mississippi.

I wonder if he would see his dream in the cracks of the derriere of our young boys and men as they do the two-step dance (take two steps and pull up my pants before they fall)?  Would he like the character of our little girls and young women who dress provocatively leaving nothing to the imagination or cover?  What would he say about the words we use to express terms of endearment to each other; words that in our past were negative, degrading and used to control our sense of worth, humanity and pride?

What would Dr. King say about those we idolize?  People we call celebrities that the poor make richer as they dream of having their plastic, superficial and shallow lives?  What would he say about the respect we give to our elders as we discard them and the lessons they have to teach us like recyclable aluminum cans?

Let us reflect on Dr. King and the impact his life had on our lives.  Let us re-dedicate ourselves to his dream and his legacy.  Let us teach our children not only his name but the richness of his legacy in practical terms that they can understand.  Let us educate them about hundreds of other selfless pioneers that were hosed with water, beaten and even killed so that they could sit anywhere on the bus and train;  dine at Red Lobster,  the International House of Pancakes (IHOP), Cracker Barrel and other restaurants and live in the neighborhood of their choice.  Remind them that those civil rights pioneers lived lives that reflected kindness, humanity, character and love for their fellow-man.

Dr. King fought for educational and economic independence for every American. Let us celebrate his life, not only on the day set aside by the government but on every day of our lives.  Let us move forward in 2013 and look to the mountain top.  Let us expect to go back to the way we were a proud, honest, compassionate and united people of integrity.  As we peak over the mountain top let us expect to see the Promised Land Dr. King spoke so eloquently of, and let us live our lives as an example for our children so they can see a land that is full of more promise than disappointment.   I am a dreamer and I believe that in spite of some nightmares along the way Dr. King’s Dream is just over the purple mountain majesty.

On Monday, January 21, 2013, the day America celebrates Dr. King’s birthday as a Federal holiday, I believe he will be smiling when President Obama takes the oath of office for his second term as the first African-American President of the United States of America.  Thank you Dr. King for your contribution to historical reality, we have come a long way since your “I Have a Dream” Speech but we’ve yet a long way to go.  Happy 84th Birthday Dr. King!

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