Martin Luther King, Jr., would have been 87 years old today, 15 January 2016. Tragically, he was gunned down at 39 in his prime. Who was the man? He was a leader who espoused using non-violent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs as an American pastor to advance civil rights in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He was also husband, father and hope for the masses.
With America’s first Black President, Barack Obama, we have come a long way from the South of the 60’s where citizens of color were blocked from voting by too many registrars. But seeds of hatred and prejudice continue to exist and erupt in our society today. Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston, Staten Island, Prairie View (Houston) and now Chicago are just a sampling of citizen-upon-citizen violence or “institutionalized discrimination” where members of a law enforcement system are out of control and lacking accountability. (Also read: “Legacy of Police on Black Violence Pre & Post ‘Selma Bloody Sunday’.”)
Films, professional athletes, art, and the media can be educational catalysts to teach young people of racism’s dangers and divisiveness to society. (See: “An Athlete’s Plea to Society.”) A recent film, “Selma: One Dream Can Change the World,” focuses on the epic struggle of Reverend King’s marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, culminating in the 1965 Voting Rights Act signed by President Lyndon Johnson. The film depicts the trials of ordinary citizens, historical events, and the dynamics between Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The words and lyrics to Dion’s “Abraham, Martin, & John” echo a reminder that the good they die young, but their message of hope prevails. Society must take an inward, critical look at WHY this is happening, see and respect differences and appreciate the inner good and commonality of its fellow human being. Listen to YouTube video: “Abraham, Martin & John”.