A Belated Letter Of Thanks To Dr. Martin Luther King
Thanks for sharing your ideas and dreams that continue to live in the hearts of men, women, boys and girls who strive to make a difference in a world that remains divided over the issues of race and class.
Your courageous leadership during the Civil Rights Movement is a source of inspiration to all who believe in justice and fair play. The support you gave to Rosa Parks, who in 1955 refused to move to the back of the bus because she was tired of racial discrimination, is to be applauded.
Montgomery, Alabama is the city where you made many of us proud. The 1956 Bus Boycott forever changed the social landscape of America and paved the way for all Americans to be treated fairly in the public transportation arena. The success of the boycott was a stroke of genius that enhanced the self esteem of countless thousands. It is for this display of love and courage that many who live in this generation honor and respect your birthday.
And on a personal note, I am thankful that your efforts paved the way for those in my generation to drink from water fountains and use restrooms without the stigma of reading signs that reinforced the idea that some American citizens are inferior.
The unyielding protests and the courageous marches through the streets of Selma and Birmingham, Alabama propelled the passing of several Civil Rights bills, which opened the door for those in my generation to sit on the main floor of movie theaters, rather than be restricted to balconies. The powerful words you spoke opened doors that allowed my family to enter the front door of a nice restaurant and enjoy a great meal without having to enter the back door and be served food in brown paper bags.
Honors and appreciation are in line for your boldness, which led to the improvement of the intra-structure in my childhood neighborhood. Those who live in the community were I grew up no longer have to drive on streets littered with potholes. Things have really changed in my old community, for now there are sidewalks just like the ones on the other side of town during the days of segregation. It was your prayers, hard work, and dedication that made it possible.
If you were alive today you would see that the fruit of your labor has produced an America where children of all races and socio-economic backgrounds are now exposed to the same educational opportunities enjoyed by the majority of Americans. The dedication of your efforts inspired lawmakers to pass laws which have opened the doors of all the great universities to all American citizens, this is the reason that many take time on Monday of the third week in January to honor your birthday.
Your tireless and unyielding spirit created an environment where children no longer have to read outdated books with torn pencil-marked pages, handed down from those who lived in privileged communities of American society.
In the end, your life was taken, because you responded to the protest of a few lowly sanitation workers in the city of Memphis , Tennessee . You gave your life because you wanted some sanitation workers to have a better life. Your love knew no bounds for it was evenly distributed among the rich and the poor.
You indeed were a man for all seasons, who made an impact across all social and economic lines. America is a much better place to live, in that you were allowed to take a short journey through the highways and bi-ways of American life; a journey, which ended when you were 39 years old. Thank you for challenging us to live out the American dream, which is to judge others by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin.
Reverend Micheal J. Darby