Friday, April 04, 2008

"What If?" The May-Have-Been Legacy of Dr. King

I think folks (including myself) tend to knock the Oakland Tribune for what they might call second-rate journalism, but I happen to like the paper because it covers local issues and politics from a perspective that combines on-the-ground community insider knowledge with a higher level of objectivity than smaller papers tend to (like the Guardian, ethnic press, etc.).

For example, on this 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death (may he rest in peace), the Tribune published this interesting article outlining different King experts and associates, including Black ministers', points of view on what might have happened in this country if Dr. King had lived.

Although I tend to not try to dwell in the 'What If's' of the past, this article was useful in helping to paint a picture of what our communities and our country could look like if we really listened to each other, worked through (not around) our race issues, and were inspired by our leaders to do so. Dr. King was by no means perfect, but his role as a strong moral compass for Americans of all races in the 1960s played a critical part in pushing forward the Civil Rights Movement. And I won't go so far as to compare Dr. King with our new Black leader, Barack Obama, but I will say that I believe many Americans want someone like a Dr. King to look up to, to emulate, and to inspire them.

Let's just hope that in looking for this leader and aspiring to this grand vision of equality and justice, we also recognize our own strengths, courage and power to manifest this vision for ourselves.

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