Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has a national holiday named after him because of what he did to promote fundamental civil rights not just for African Americans but also for every human being in the country. It is a day for everyone to reflect on the cause for which he fought peacefully and died, and one that continues to be a struggle for many people across the globe.
Because of the groundwork King helped lay and the movement he progressed, along with the people who propelled his beliefs ones inherent to the country’s founding President Barack Obama was able to obtain the highest elected office in the country, which did not seem possible a generation ago. But the buck doesn’t stop there.
Certainly Mr. Obama’s achievement is also one for Dr. King and for the electorate that decisively
chose his leadership despite the suppressive role race has played since America’s inception. It represents a significant step toward a more open-minded society that cannot be diluted as time passes.
The Alexandria students who participated in the annual Martin Luther King poster contest this year, for instance, did not simply join a great tradition among their peers. It is not a hollow competition but a hallowed custom that affords an opportunity to keep Dr. King’s commonsensical, strong-willed spirit instilled in the generations that follow his lifetime. Eventually, the last eye witnesses to the civil rights movement of a half-century ago will be gone, making seemingly small exercises like these more important to ensure dynamic attitudes among youth rather than complacent ones.
A 78-year old leader of the city’s African American community recently said that he still keeps a textbook from his years in the city’s public school system by his side. It neglected to teach students a comprehensive history of Virginia, he said, because it did not include the significant role of African Americans in the state’s history pleasant or not. He keeps the book close to remember how it once was for African Americans living in the city and country and has since done much to build on Dr. King’s legacy and now works to promote the history of all cultures and races.
Prejudice of all types and on all peoples exists and affects our society, and though we’ve come a long way, there is no reason to stop now. The messages of Dr. King can and should be highlighted not just on his birthday but every day.