But nearly 40 years after his assassination in April 1968, after the deaths of his wife and of others who knew both the man and what he stood for, some say King is facing the same fate that has befallen many a historical figure -- being frozen in a moment in time that ignores the full complexity of the man and his message.
"Everyone knows, even the smallest kid knows about Martin Luther King, can say his most famous moment was that 'I have a dream' speech," said Henry Louis Taylor Jr., professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Buffalo.
"No one can go further than one sentence," he said. "All we know is that this guy had a dream; we don't know what that dream was." (boldface mine--Darren)
Oh yes we do. The American left may want to distort and pervert and ignore that dream, but I do not. Among some specific examples of racism and injustice he pointed out in his famous 1963 speech, one point stands out as an exemplar for all time:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
It's hard to parse those words, but some try. You can twist all you want, but the meaning is clear--a colorblind society. He repeatedly called out to Let Freedom Ring, for equality of the races, for justice and harmony.
Those points are twisted today using a variety of politically correct code words and Orwellian doublespeak.
Whilst looking over a list of King's quotes I came across several that were good but one in particular that I hadn't heard before, one that spoke to me:
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.
Indeed. It's important, good, and right that the law has removed what had been hurdles, both legal and illegal, placed in the path of American blacks. It should go no further than that.
It's true that the Dr. King of 1968 was different from the King of 1963. The former involved himself in a sanitation workers' strike and the Vietnam War, far from the lofty ideals of the latter. It's the King of 1963 that will be frozen in time, and from whom I draw my inspiration.
I've posted before about one way to honor him.