MLK : A monument, an iconic figure, a hero? Why is he still so relevant today?

His fight then:

In May 1963, in Birmingham, Ala., Dr. King organized the most brilliant civil disobedience campaigns of his career, when he brought more than a thousand black schoolchildren into the streets to demonstrate against segregation. Hundreds were arrested; others were blasted with fire hoses. When people rebuked Dr. King for putting young people at risk, he said: “Don’t hold them back if they want to go to jail. For they are doing a job not only for themselves, but for all of America and for all mankind.” The world reacted, shamed the city and Birmingham took its first steps toward desegregation. Thousands of school children and students are marching today  against gun violence. Had he survived, he would have surely been among them as he was in Birmingham. He fought for racial equality and voting rights, for fair wages and the reproductive rights of women. And in doing so, Martin Luther King Jr. became one of the pioneers of the American model of nonviolent protesting that’s practiced to this day. On the 50th anniversary of his assassination, let’ s take a look at how Americans emulate him, consciously or not, in today’s political movements.

MLK still relevant today : compare these photos

MLK protest with kids

Racial inequality: then :The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gives a young protester a pat on the back as a group pickets against segregation in St. Augustine, Fla., on June 10, 1964. “This is the ultimate tragedy of segregation,” King said in an address to the National Council of Churches in 1957. “It not only harms one physically, but it injures one spiritually. It scars the soul and distorts the personality. It inflicts the segregator with a false sense of superiority, while inflicting the segregated with a false sense of inferiority.”

kids protest today

Racial inequality: now :Jayceon Hurtz, 2, holds a sign as Black Lives Matter protesters rally March 28, 2018, in response to the police shooting of Stephon Clark in Sacramento, Calif. Clark, an unarmed black man, was shot and killed by police March 18 while in his grandmother’s backyard

dream MLK

Fair wages: now Fast food workers and union members carry signs as they stage a protest outside a McDonald’s in Oakland, Calif., on Feb. 12, 2018. The protesters were demanding a $15-an-hour minimum wage on the 50th anniversary of the start of the historic Memphis Sanitation Strike that was led by King.

Dr King, at the end of his life, said that all worthy leaders should live a life of « dangerous unselfishness ». Had he been here today, as he was for countless campaigns for social justice in the 1950s and 60s, he would have been walking hands in hands with protesters of March for Our Lives, BLM, Metoo, Never Again.

An article to illustrate his heritage and impact on US society:

The life and legacy of MLK

Political atmosphere today in the US : progress is cut off but let’ s remember the sermon he gave before he died, somber and cautionary but also full of hope: « Only when it’s dark enough, can you see the stars ».

What Martin Luther King Jr. Might Think About America Today