Monday, January 16, 2017

Martin Luther King, Jr. and New National Monuments

Edward Hessler

Today is commemorated the life and life changing contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr.

On the lead up to MLK, Jr. Day, on January 12, President Barack Obama designated three new national monuments to preserve important places in civil rights history. They are the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, the Freedom Riders National Monument, and the Reconstruction Era National Monument.

Here is Newsy on the designations with additional photographs.

MLK, Jr [Wikimedia Commons]

President Obama has talked more than once about the importance of confronting such "uncomfortable moments" if we are to grow as a people and as a nation.

In his extraordinary Letter from Birmingham Jail, there is found this penetrating ecological insight. The idea is interwoven throughout the letter. He was in Birmingham he wrote, in his typical straight forward way, "because injustice is here."

In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be... This is the inter-related structure of reality.

In a compelling essay, Jelani Cobb calls attention to a speech that King delivered in 1967, in Atlanta. King "condemned the Vietnam War and warned against what he called 'the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism.'" And I deeply agree with Mr. Cobb that "King's insights into our society have never been more critical."

How far have we come?

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