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Editorials

January 20, 2014

In Our Opinion: Why we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Today, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

That information hardly comes as any kind of news flash. Still, it’s worth noting.

Why?

“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.”

That’s why.

“… When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

That’s why.

For those too young to remember listening to those excerpts and the rest of the Rev. Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech delivered as the highlight of the massive March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.

That’s why.

For those too young to remember separate water fountains and bathrooms for white and black people.

That’s why.

For those too young to remember “separate but equal” school systems for whites and blacks that were far more separate than equal.

That’s why.

For those too young to remember the peaceful protesters who were met by Southern state government-sanctioned beatings, by vicious police dogs, by high-pressure water blasts, by murders of civil rights workers and innocent little girls in church.

That’s why.

For those too young to remember poll taxes and other sinister means that were used to keep African Americans from voting … and for those old enough now to recognize that those voting rights are once again in jeopardy by new state statutes almost equally as sinister. 

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