During the past few days and certainly in those to come, much has been said about Martin Luther King Jr.’s moral leadership and unwavering commitment to fighting for the rights of all Americans. But as Martin Luther King III noted at a civil rights luncheon honoring the King legacy, there are many more miles to be marched before his father’s dream is truly realized.
King recalled watching his father evolve from fierce civil rights advocate to a human rights leader because all of the things he was fighting for were basic human rights, such as health care, a good education and a decent job, housing and justice.
“He wanted to see this nation eradicated from what he called the triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism. And while we’ve made great strides with race, we’re not there yet. But in relationship to poverty, we’ve almost made no strides,” King said, adding that this is an issue that must be addressed by everybody in this nation who cares about others and that it is not a burden that should be placed solely on the shoulders of President Obama. King said that instead of idolizing his father, people should practice his ideals and his philosophy that every individual can make a difference and that we should all hold ourselves accountable for doing something to improve the lives of others because everyone’s destinies are intertwined.
Attorney General Eric Holder delivered a similar message in his remarks. Citing Obama and himself as two direct beneficiaries of the civil rights movement, he said that African-Americans still haven’t reached the “promised land” that King talked about because there are still so many communities where people are being denied opportunities to learn and work and too many children growing up in extraordinarily challenging situations that will make it difficult for them to succeed as adults.
“Despite all that’s been achieved in recent years, the work of strengthening our nation and empowering all of our fellow citizens is incomplete. As with every generation, this work is now our work; this task is now our task; this dream is now our dream,” Holder said. “The challenges before us, and the divisions that, too often, separate too many of us from one another, have evolved. But addressing them will require the same skills, the same perseverance and the same vision as those so nobly exemplified by Dr. King. And the time to act has never been more urgent.”
Holder said that the King Memorial’s formal dedication will provide an opportunity for people to rededicate themselves to the civil rights leader’s mission.
(Photo: Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI /Landov)