28 August 2010


On this day in 1955, a 15-year-old African-American boy named Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi for flirting with a white woman.

On this day in 1963, I was about to start my junior year in high school.

Also on this day in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, calling for racial equality and an end to discrimination. His eloquent and moving words were heard by a quarter million civil rights supporters who had participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom -- and by countless millions of others in the years since.

No description can do justice to Dr. King's integrity and passion. Here is a link to the full text of his address -- you can watch and listen to the full speech at the same link.

A footnote. What a shame that predatory provocateurs Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are attempting on this day to co-opt the legacy of Dr. King, with a divisive, fear-mongering gathering of their own today at the same location where Dr. King inspired the minds and souls of so many. As Bob Herbert notes, the hatred and bigotry which the right wing foments are a hollow sham, a mockery of our nation's founding principles and a slap in the face of the peaceful good will which Dr. King sought to instill in all of us. Chris Matthews comments that if Dr. King were around for today's rally, his sentiments might well be "I Have a Nightmare."
Bottom line, I can state categorically that the vacuous, retrogressive thinking of Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, and other Tea party adherents will never win the Nobel Peace Prize -- which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. received in 1964. He will be forever missed, and forever treasured.

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