Monday, January 17, 2011

It's More Than A Monday Off

I think Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is an important day. Sixty years ago, it was considered acceptable to ban people from your restaurant because of the color of their skin. I can't even imagine what it must have been like to have people be polite to you but shrug away from your touch out of fear of catching polio--yes, that was a real thing--or not want you to live next door to you because "those" people always play loud music late at night, or some such nonsense. But despite being nonsense, these things were accepted as fact.

Doctor King was an amazing man not because he stood up to this, but because he did so with such resolve and with nonviolence. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, in which black people refused to use the bus lines for thirteen months to show they wouldn't put up with the inequality no matter what the weather. How much strength it must have taken to keep going in the middle of winter, in a place and time where women wore skirts and heels and had to go across town for work. It wasn't easy nor pleasant, but it worked.

There were many other events as well, some resulting in his arrest, some (unfortunately) failing to achieve their goals of desegregation. But even when they were sprayed by high pressure fire hoses and attacked by dogs, they kept going, and that determination payed off. The country was still a long way from electing a black president, but the "Whites Only" signs were down, Jim Crow banished and "separate but equal" was denounced for what it was: inherently unequal.

So today, please remember the struggles of more than a half a century ago. Remember how Doctor King accepted his arrests and unjust treatment but never stayed silent. Think of the others who have pled and are still pleading for equal rights. And think of the places where "I have a dream" is nothing more than that, a dream.


  1. I came over from Liz' blog and I'm glad I did. The things we accept as our rights unfortunately cost others so much more than we can imagine. Great reminders of how things used to be versus what they are today because of sacrifice.

  2. That was a beautiful post. He was and still remains an amazing man. There needs to be more like him in this world ;o)


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