On this day when we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King and mourn his death, it is at once encouraging that so much progress has been made in terms of racial discrimination and disheartening to realize that so much more remains to be done. 1968 was a traumatic year in many respects, but for those of us who were alive at the time, it’s a bit disorienting to realize that more than half of the present US population were not yet born at the time of King’s assassination. That was a year when Bobby Kennedy was also assassinated. But it was also a year when people rose up, not only to fight against racial discrimination, but also to resist the Vietnam war, to fight for women’s rights, to resist the oppression of gays and lesbians. Will those who were not yet born at that time continue the struggle? Paul Krugman states the situation clearly in his column in today’s New York Times, explaining that while progress has been made, we are now presented with a larger and more pervasive problem, the division of our country, and the rest of the world for that matter, into the haves and have-nots, into the 1% and everybody else. We can take some comfort and hope in the dramatic emergence of the “Occupy” movement on a global scale. Keep hope alive!
Nina Simone asks “Why” the King is dead.