Monday, January 18, 2010

Dr. King's Last Speech

"Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! And so I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man! Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!"

R.I.P. to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His legacy continues to live on today in so many ways. I for one, think he would be proud of how Americans of every race, color, culture and creed have reacted to the earthquake in Haiti. I feel we have made tremendous strides as a nation, but I firmly believe we still have a long way to go. An issue that is still present, besides institutional racism, is sexism. As it has been very well documented, Dr. King, like most men during the Civil Rights Movement, would exude behavior that would force one to believe that he felt women were inferior to men. So, while fighting for the rights of Blacks, one could infer that King stunted the growth of Black women simultaneously. Furthermore, King's adulterous behavior (as documented by his colleague Ralph Albernathy) displays another side of a leader who otherwise is portrayed as being without a noticeable flaw or weakness. Despite these flaws, many would choose to overlook them, and some would even praise Dr. King, as if committing adultery and benefiting from sexism makes him "real." It is imperative to understand that a protection of a patriarchal society, then and now, does nothing to benefit our progression to the top of this metaphorical mountain top. It is finding a way to right a wrong. It is, passing a student with a grade of a "C" despite his overall percentage falling well below what would usually grant a student the grade. This behavior is something that comes as no surprise, as countless leaders, whether Black or White, reciprocated this same behavior during Dr. King's era where the media wasn't as prominent in the social lives of political figures.

I say these facts, not to diminish this influential leader and his accomplishments, but to point out that none of us are without flaw. While we most certainly SHOULD learn from the rhetoric and overall message of Dr. King, we should also make an attempt to dissect his flaws, as to understand the vast array of issues and imperfections that are still present in ourselves, and in society as a whole.

We are still climbing towards the mountain top...

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