Tuesday, April 7, 2009

April 4, 2009 (Out of order due to Technical Glitch)

(Apologies, this was sent to the blog page on the 4th but doesn't appear to have posted.)
Dr. Martin Luther King was killed forty-one years ago today. By the time he died, he had changed America. He used to preach that he might not live to reach the Promised Land, but he had seen it. And of course he had.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of '65 changed America more than any legislation I can think of. I am old enough to remember the bus station with two waiting rooms, the restaurants with signs that said "whites only." I can remember once, a year or two after those laws had passed, going to a restaurant in the South with a group of reporters which included a black or two. The owner wouldn't admit us; we then explained which news organizations we worked for and asked if he really wanted to be on the front page and on netwotk TV. He let us in.
So Dr. King changed America, which only a few of us manage to do, and lived to see those changed taking hold. Racism in America has lessened since his death--not vanished, but diminished.
You have to wonder, though, what he would make of America today--a black American president and his black wife touring Europe to thunderous applause. The French, who can be a picky bunch--loved her style, her clothes, and indeed she and France's First Lady looked just terrific in the pictures I've see. Talk about style!
And President Obama is smart and suave and well-spoken--and that shows too. It's been quite a week for Europe, quite a week for America. If Dr. King's spirit is somewhere that lets him see what's going on, I'll bet he's smiling.
We're not there yet, but we've traveled far.

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