Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King Day

I can still remember stepping out of my back door in Adrian, Missouri, one cool January and seeing a confederate flag hanging from a neighbor’s porch. I hadn’t remembered seeing it before and thought it strange then, this new banner flapping in the breeze. It wasn’t until several hours into my work day that I realized the day was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal holiday.

Neither Adrian nor my neighbor was especially racist, at least to my recollection. And I never discovered why he displayed his Stars & Bars. I’m of the opinion that perhaps Dr. King should not have a federal holiday in his honor. Not even the great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln gets his own day. He’s lumped into “Washington’s Birthday” with the common renaming of “President’s Day”. And I certainly realize credible evidence exists regarding Dr. King’s moral character, though much of it is embellished.

However, nothing can detract from certain facts. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great man and led a great movement.

He is perhaps best known for his “I Have a Dream” speech, but his “Letter From Birmingham Jail” ranks higher in my mind, in terms of great literature.

Racism is ugly. I am thankful that Dr. King did much to assault it.

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