This eighth installment of the Original v. Cover series appears one day early this week for perhaps the most compelling of reasons – Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on this day in 1929. Had his life not been tragically ended on April 4, 1968, he could conceivably have celebrated his 81st birthday on this day.
Today we celebrate the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s remarkable accomplishments; however, cannot escape wondering what may have been were he still alive today. Although King would most likely be encouraged by the progress that has been achieved since his time, his optimism would no doubt be tempered by an ample measure of concern as well.
Would he have celebrated the seating of an African-American on the Supreme Court at the behest of a Republican president, no less, on October 18, 1991? Would he have considered his mission to be accomplished with the election of an African-American to the highest office in this land, a term which began slightly less than one year ago on January 20, 2009? Or would his feelings, at best, be mixed?
King would undoubtedly have had much to say about those topics. And his concerns would without question be shared by many perusing this diary.
If you are truly interested in the meaning of King’s life and what it meant for this country, please consider going to the following wikipedia article, which can be found here. If we choose to listen, we will soon discover that he was not speaking just to the people of that day, but to posterity as well. His message resonates as much if not more so than it did nearly a half a century ago.
Much will be written and said about the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. during this weekend. Those whose abilities far exceed this writer’s humble talents will bring his memory to life for those who slow down long enough to remember, and in some cases, with a combination of fear and courage, consider the challenges that he sets before us in our own time.
For those in want of a quick refresher, here is one of the many excerpts from King’s August 28, 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, fittingly delivered at the Lincoln Memorial. Fewer among us may be aware that the content of this speech was toned down in response to the concerns of the then president, John F. Kennedy. Malcolm X was among those critical of this event, referring to it as “the farce on Washington.”