Perhaps it’s better that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lived in the era he lived in. These days, it’s hard for anyone to galvanize a nation, whether it be an entertainer, a politician, or one of the greatest civil rights leaders of our-or any-time. In the age of social media, when rumors and innuendo are truth until proven otherwise, the unfounded rumors that Dr. King was a serial cheater would’ve ruined his career, or at least resulted in a tearful confession or stone-faced denial followed by tearful confession a la…I don’t know, name your public figure.
Regardless of how Dr. King’s personal life shook out, that hopefully doesn’t take away from his accomplishments in anyone’s mind. First, because they’re rumors and second, because we’re all flawed people, and on the grand scale of things, Dr. King’s accomplishments by far exceed any potential personal faults he may have had. A lot of us black folk take for granted how far we’ve come in the past sixty years, but you’ve gotta think: sixty years isn’t that long a period of time. There are still many living people for whom the concept of overt segregation isn’t something they read about in American History class, but something they experienced in real life. A big part of why we are where we are (and certainly not suggesting that we don’t have a long way to go) is because of the efforts of Dr. King.
It’s a simple concept-equality. One that’s easily pushed aside these days when it seems like so many of us want preferential treatment instead of equal treatment. When the playing field was obviously and blatantly uneven, Dr. King stepped up and did more than anyone else to level it, and he did it with a platform that promoted nonviolence. It’s so easy to use force and and attitude to make yourself heard-and I’m not saying there isn’t merit in occasionally making your point by using one of the other or both-but the fact that King chose to change the world with love and not anger, and SUCCEEDED, speaks volumes about his worth to this country and the world.
How many of us can say we’ve made the world a better place? How many of us take our blessings for granted and forget to acknowledge or thank the people who died so that we could have better lives? None of us are incredible people, but each of us has the vision, intelligence, patience and persistence to do incredible things, if those qualities are properly applied. Dr. King was one of those people, and I, for one, will always be appreciative of the things he’s done, not only as a black man, but as a human being. We still have a lot to learn from his example. It’s very likely that there will never again be someone who has done (or will be able to do) the things he did, and that’s sad, because we could probably use someone like him right now.