Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

January 21, 2013

What We Think: MLK Day: An American holiday

- — Each year seems to find an increase in local events commemorating the life, the words and, most importantly, the dream of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

These events honor the ideas of King who spoke of not judging people by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. The same King who spoke for political, social and economic equality for blacks. The same King who led the tumultuous civil rights movement through the 1950s and ’60s.

These events celebrate the strides that have been made in equal rights for all Americans, no matter their race, since the days of King. And these events will note the travails that remain in regards to race within our nation.

During these events, King’s “I Have a Dream” speech has been mentioned, quoted and read. It ranks as one of the most eloquent and powerful speeches in American history.

In that speech, King spoke of many things, including, “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. ... I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. ...”

While enormous strides have been made in integration from schools and theatres to the workplace and restaurants, even with the election of a black President, the MLK events likely won’t reflect such integration. The majority of these events will be attended by black participants while whites stay away.

Why such a disparity? It is hard to say. Perhaps, it is because whites do not feel welcome or they do not believe the events are for them.

But this situation is not unique to Valdosta. Throughout the nation, by both blacks and whites, Martin Luther King Day is largely perceived as a “black holiday.”

What an ironic injustice for the day commemorating the man who spoke of blacks and whites sitting together at the table of brotherhood.

Martin Luther King wasn’t just a great African-American.

He was a great American.

Martin Luther King Day isn’t an African-American holiday. It is an American holiday to honor a man who asked America to keep its long-held promise that all men are created equal.   

Martin Luther King is a man for all Americans as the day commemorating him is a day for all Americans to reflect on the nation’s past, but more importantly, think of its future.

1
Text Only
What We Think
  • Runoff election counts today

    Today is an election day that started just a little more than two months ago.

    July 21, 2014

  • PSST! Only one week left

    Peach State Summer Theatre enters its final week of performances for the 2014 season. This means there are only a few more opportunities left to see “Mary Poppins,” “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” and “42nd Street.”

    July 20, 2014

  • The wisdom of animals

    Animals may be smarter than us. If you don’t think so take a look at how we humans deal with the oppressive heat of summer. Compare our activities with those of animals.

    July 19, 2014

  • Welcoming home the ‘Unseen Project’

    Two months ago, they embarked on an ambitious endeavor: Two friends, riding on motorcycles criss-crossing the United States, followed by a film crew, on a faith-based tour to find America the Unseen.

    July 17, 2014

  • A downtown church’s faith

    First Baptist Church made a leap of faith this past weekend.

    July 16, 2014

  • Overpass has double potential

    They say it will be here sooner than we think.

    July 16, 2014

  • Precautions for what’s left of summer

    Summer is a time of rest, vacations and trips. It is a time when school is out, when people take time off from work, when people may stay out a little later. It is a time of swimming, trying new things, and seeking adventure.

    July 14, 2014

  • Golf tourney battles cancer

    Battling cancer seems a never-ending war. Yet, for anyone who has ever had cancer, for anyone who has a friend or relative who has struggled against cancer, it is a battle worth waging.

    July 13, 2014

  • Valdosta: Time for a hard look

    Last week was a tough one for Valdosta. A national survey named Valdosta as the nation’s fastest-shrinking city. A report listed Valdosta State Prison in a three-way tie for the state’s second most violent prison.

    July 12, 2014

  • Golf tourney battles cancer

    Battling cancer seems a never-ending war. Yet, for anyone who has ever had cancer, for anyone who has a friend or relative who has struggled against cancer, it is a battle worth waging.

    July 11, 2014

Top News
Poll

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results