Opinion: The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King

Marvin Logan is a senior pan-African studies major. Contact him at [email protected]

Marvin Logan

As we continue a weeklong celebration of the contributions of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I feel it is necessary to look back on his life. King was more than simply a dream. Today, we seem to have boiled down someone who has an entire book of speeches and demonstrations, among many other things, to a dream that only lasts a few stanzas.

By 1967, King was feared and disliked for his polarizing messages. Toward the end of his life, King began to turn his attention to justice on civil rights for all, not just black people.

King fought for the rights of workers, immigrants and war victims. King spoke out against every injustice he encountered. Unfortunately, we have seen a Romanization of King and his message and the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

The civil rights movement was not a time where everyone was happy. Marches were not seen as beautiful moments of unity. To achieve the little ground that we have gained toward equality were painted in red. King’s demonstrations were no exception. Death visited the lives of black and all those who sought to assist them. It was a time filled with tragedy, constant let downs and heartbreak. At the foot of every progression was an even larger opposition.

Martin Luther King Jr. stood peacefully in the face of tyranny and oppression of all. He even, at times, showed that he had grown tired of practicing peace to only be met with violence. It was not as much his messages of racial unity that brought anger as his views on war and poverty. In addition, we sometimes view his dream as nearly being fulfilled. I come with a public service announcement. We do not live in a post racial society. Martin is still dreaming. We have a long way to go to solve problems of race, poverty, discrimination, violence, war and other social injustices. King, I believe, would not be very much satisficed with our progress, or lack thereof.

If we truly wish to see King’s dream fulfilled, we must make sacrifices. We have to make each other uncomfortable by diving away from our past failures and transgressions. We must live with love. We must dare to change. We must remember all of King and his entire dream. We must be great and strive to be greater.