I can’t control how you feel about this picture. I will tell you how it makes me feel, on this particular MLK Day….
Proud. One man was the focal point for a movement which brought genuine change to the laws of this country.
Inspired. One man’s amazing words reach forward to our time, inspiring multiple new generations who never saw him live or on TV while he was alive.
Hopeful. One man’s dream was taken up by countless others, including Presidents and preachers, students and teachers, and that dream compelled change.
Sad. One man’s premonition, of a Moses-like inability to enter the promised land, came true.
Convicted. One man’s mission must continue to be carried out, must continue to be told to others and must change hearts… Still.
Born in the deepest South, people are often confused by my progressive political views. Especially when you consider that my active memory doesn’t cover when President Kennedy or Doctor King lived. My earliest societal memory is of the morning after Senator Kennedy was killed, and being told about it at some kind of gathering at my neighborhood elementary school. I can only tell you there was never I time when I didn’t idolize Doctor King. I can’t tell you why, or what triggered it. as I’ve written here before, I honestly believe it was the politics of comic-book writers like Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, Denny O’Neil and Roy Thomas that had the most influence on my early political views.
But I do know this. Racism isn’t dead. Facebook proves this on a horrifyingly daily basis, and it breaks my heart.
This particular MLK day falls on 1/19, General Robert E. Lee’s birthday. I’d say, “Use your imagination”, but you don’t have to. We live in a complex nation where General Lee’s image is carved into a mountain in Georgia. And Doctor King’s stands in our nation’s capitol.
I can’t control how you feel about this picture, this holiday or where the country is right now. I can only tell you that I think the holiday is right, the picture is beautiful, and one man – with all the human virtues and foibles that implies – changed things.
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