By Roger Caldwell
It is that time again in America, when everyone gets a day off of work, and there are thousands of events to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This is an effort where Black Americans are allowed to have a special week-end, where all Americans can agree that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great American, who brought about great change to this country.
Each year, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on parades, dinners, speeches, and experts, who have studied Dr. King’s work, and his popularity is at an all time high. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man with high moral standards, and his legacy of jus-tice, love, peace, and service will go down in history as a great achievement.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. changed the shape of the country, with non-violent direct action. This movement that he created worked to overturn systemic segregation and racism across the southern United States. It started with resistance from Rosa Parks in Montgomery refusing to give her seat to a white patron, and she was arrested. This sparked a Black boycott, which lasted 381 days, and Dr. King was elected its leader.
“The boycott ended on December 20, 1956, after the Supreme Court ruled that the racial segregation of buses was unconstitutional. But the enduring victory of Montgomery belonged not to the lawyers but to King and his fellow pastors, and the tens of thousands who followed them,” says reporter Zeke Miller of the Time.
King would say about Birmingham, Alabama, “Racially motivated bombings against Blacks had earned the city the nick-name ‘Bombingham,’ and many of its majority Black residents were denied all but the most menial jobs – if they could find work at all.” Dr. Martin Luther King had exposed the Jim Crow system to America and the world, and the White Christian con-science had become “tortured souls. ”
By 1960, nonviolent pro-tests were sweeping across the south, and hundreds of Black students were being arrested. During this period Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was formed with Dr. King as the president, with the goal to spread his philosophy of nonviolent direct action.
The tactics changed, and where there were sit-ins, kneel-ins and
demonstrations, SCLC also encouraged economic boycotts. In 1967, King announced his Poor People’s Campaign, and now along with civil rights, there was a need for jobs, healthcare, a fair minimum wage, and better education for all
On April 4, 1968, in Memphis Tennessee, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel, while pro-testing for better wages for sanitation workers .
In 2020, there have been tremendous improvements and achievements for Blacks and people of color, but there are still tremendous challenges, and Democracy and the rule of law is being decimated. President Trump has been caught lying over 15,000 times in 3 years, and there is a need for a moral con-science in America.
What would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. do in 2020?
If in 1955, Blacks could boycott a city bus company, and win a ruling in the Supreme Court – there is nothing that Blacks can’t do in2020, if they are unified and organized. Black women are one of the largest voting blocks in the country, and there is no reason college students could not be a powerful voting bloc in the Democratic Party.
Dr. King was able to organize the grassroots in the churches, there is no reason that Blacks can’t organize the Black pastors around the country, and educate their members about politics in their com-munity, their state, and the federal government.
Finally, it is time to speak the truth, and expose the president, and the criminal syndicate he is building in the White House. Progressive activist must get things done through the court system, and Americans must begin to believe that their voting has value.
“Everybody can be great – because anybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love,” says Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.