Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy went on national television and spoke to the nation about a problem “as old as the scriptures.” He told his fellow citizens that our nation could never truly be free until all of the people that made up the nation were in fact free. It was the introduction of civil rights legislation not seen in the United States since the 14th and 15th amendments were enacted 100 years prior. The landmark legislation, essentially ending legalized segregation, was passed by Congress the following year.
At the ceremony, standing beside President Johnson, was Martin Luther King Jr. For it was Martin Luther King Jr. that led a movement in which its demand was something intrinsic to American democracy. That simple yet often times far reaching ideal that all men are created equal. It was a movement for which much blood was shed and which cost Dr. King his very life.
Fifty years from that moment, we have an African American man as President of the United States, something that would have been thought impossible during the early 1960s. But the question is this; Has Martin Luther King’s dream been fully realized?
I will not attempt to answer that question but only ask that as we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. this coming Monday that we stop and ponder the question. And remember, the dream of of Dr. King was for social and economic justice for all people. Have we in Dr. Kings words “reached the mountain top” or have we a long journey yet ahead of us?