This week — April 4 to be precise — marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King as he stood on a balcony of a Memphis motel room. Dr. King had come to Memphis to support striking sanitation workers, the majority of whom were black and underpaid.
Dr. King is most remembered for his efforts to promote racial equality and to end segregation in the South.
However, Dr. King’s quest for justice for all Americans encompassed many aspects of our lives. His efforts to promote economic equality and his opposition to the war in Vietnam crossed racial lines.
Moreover, King’s message that the economically downtrodden deserve better in a country as wealthy as the United States resonates even more today than it did 50 years ago.
In 2018 we live in an era in which the wealth of the top 1 percent is equal to that of the bottom 90 percent, a disparity that did not even remotely exist in the 1960s, but which continues to accelerate, especially under the present administration in Washington.
Dr. Martin Luther King was not a perfect man by any means — who among us is?
But he unquestionably was a person of great faith, tremendous courage, and an abiding desire to help those for whom the American dream was only an illusion.
Though Dr. King’s life was cut all too short — it is hard to believe that he was only 39 when he was shot — his enduring legacy serves as a testament to the ability of one person to overcome adversity and to make a difference in the lives of countless millions of his fellow Americans.