A hero’s dream remembered

It is hard for some of us old folks to believe, but it was 51 years ago Thursday that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while standing on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn.

He was a hero when we were young — a man who battled for civil rights, but who was committed to waging that battle through nonviolent means. From the mid-1950s until his death in 1968, King fought to end segregation by leading protests, marches and boycotts, giving inspirational speeches, and by shaming politicians into finding their consciences.

He and the other founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were largely responsible for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

He is best known for his “I Have A Dream” speech given during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963:

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’

“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

“I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

“I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of ‘interposition’ and ‘nullification,’ one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.

“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”

Rest in peace, Dr. King.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.