Monday, January 21, 2013

Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.

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By Diane Forrest

The opinions in this article are the sole view of the author, and her's alone.   I add this disclaimer because the boss and I have respectfully agreed to disagree on this matter.

Today is the day the country celebrates the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr.  His actual birthday is January 15; however it is celebrated on the third Monday in January each year.  King was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement.  He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience. King has become a national icon in the history of American progressivism.  On April 4, 1968, he was shot and killed in Memphis TN, on the balcony of his hotel room.
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Mr. King was one of many who participated in the Civil Rights Movement, He was considered the spokesperson, however there were many who were just as involved, and just as important in the Movement.  Those who come to mind are Medgar Evers, who was also shot in the midst of his works with the Civil Rights, Ms. Rosa Parks, who was not assassinated, but her actions spoke volumes when she refused to give up her seat on the bus in Alabama.  James Meridith, who was the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi, under the protection of the National Guard.  President John F. Kennedy, and his brother Robert, who both worked tireless in the fight against civil injustice, and both lost their lives during that fight. James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, three Civil Rights workers who were killed in Philadelphia, Mississippi when they were working to help gain voters in the African American community. These are but a few that come to my mind at the moment, but there were thousands more.

That is why I think that recognizing the fight and victories of the Civil Rights movement is not only important, but necessary; however, I don’t believe that one single person should hold that honor.  I feel that the day should be recognized as Civil Rights Movement Day, or some other title.
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I think that King's place in history is important, as were other people in history, Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy, Roosevelt, all made laws and programs to change the lives of many, however they are not singled out for a day in recognition.  Just as these men are recognized on President's day, so should all the others in the fight against Civil Rights should also be included.

What are your views on this day?  We would like to hear them.

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