Celebrating -- DR MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY
On August 28, 1963 in Washington, D.C. Dr. Martin Luther King addressed more than 200,000 people, black and white, congregated for a peaceful march with the main purpose of forcing civil rights legislation and establishing job equality for everyone. Addressing the crowds, saying in his “I have a dream” speech “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.
“ But let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." 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.
“I have a dream that one day- every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together." With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
“And when this happens, and 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!”
Dr. King witnessed the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson, legislation that had been authorized by President John F. Kennedy before his assassination. The law guaranteed equal employment for all, limited the use of voter literacy tests and allowed federal authorities to ensure public facilities were integrated. On February 21, 1965, former Nation of Islam leader and Organization of Afro-American Unity, founder Malcolm X was assassinated at a rally. On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated on his hotel balcony.
The Fair Housing Act became law on April 11, 1968, just days after King’s assassination. It prevented housing discrimination based on race, sex, national origin and religion. It was also the last legislation enacted during the civil rights era. B. Gregg