Dr. King’s lessons still live on

Published 4:23 pm Tuesday, January 13, 2015

When I was growing up, it was always easy for me to remember the “actual” birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That’s because both he and I were born on the same day, Jan. 15. I jokingly told my friends that I had been cheated out of a national holiday on my birthday every year.

Of course, the older I got, the more I realized how important King’s legacy was in the world. Obviously, King was human, and as a human he made mistakes. No one is truly perfect except for God. I realize there are allegations of adultery, communism, and other negative activities against King. But whether they are true or not, I find it hard to believe that anyone could actually find fault in his heartfelt message of equality for all Americans.

King is to be admired, not only for his beliefs, but also for the mostly nonviolent way in which change was achieved. Yes, those protests broke the laws of the land at the time, and King himself was jailed multiple times. However, those laws were inherently unjust and unfair, and thanks to his work and the work of other civil rights crusaders, those wrongs were ultimately righted.

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I know that many argue that King’s work is still unfinished and that racism is still rampant in our society. I know that just as many argue that King would be disappointed by our current society, because programs like quotas and affirmative action are based more on “the color of your skin” than “the content of your character.” King and the civil rights movement were not a cure-all for all the ills of our nation, but they certainly helped to make it more just for all Americans.

That’s why I hope that everyone in Atmore takes the opportunity to attend the various programs and events for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The parade is Monday at 10 a.m., and there will be a program at the Escambia County High School at approximately 11:30 a.m. On Saturday, there will be a Unity Prayer Breakfast at 8 a.m. at the Heritage Steakhouse. Several local churches will have programs during the weekend, as well.

Let’s show support for these events, regardless of our race, gender, religion, age, or any other differences. King’s legacy and history is America’s history.

You can email Justin Schuver at justin.schuver@atmoreadvance.com.