Martin Luther King Day: Remembering the Past to Learn for the Future

Martin Luther King Day: Remembering the Past to Learn for the Future

The Lessons of Martin Luther King, Jr. can guide Americans in the way of peaceful protests.

Martin Luther King Day is tomorrow; while many Americans may be viewing the holiday as an extra day off of work, Martin Luther King Day has a special significance black Americans. Because of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s efforts, the United States has come from a shameful time when blacks were slave, to a time when blacks had equality in the eyes of the law,  to the present when the United States’ first black president, Barack Obama, is running for his second term.

Americans still have a long way to go in the United States to achieve racial equality, but we can all still learn from the effective and peaceful protests of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who led blacks in their struggles for racial justice in the South. According to Forbes magazine, the unemployment rate in the United States amongst black males is disproportionately high and middle class blacks have been hit hardest economically during the financial crisis.

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, the Christian Science Monitor is featuring an article detailing eight of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s peaceful protests. Again, the theme of the article as well as the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself is of tolerance and peaceful protests. Violent protests beget more violence, and we do not want to lose any more of our young American men and women; the United States needs strong leaders of all races who are alive and can fight in peaceful ways for causes which are important to creating racial equality and eliminating the burden of poverty that many Americans face.

Americans wanting to protest because of their struggles on Martin Luther King Day should both honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and respect President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their continued peaceful and legal fights on behalf of all of the people of the United States. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. proved, peaceful protests are an effective method to effect positive and lasting changes within a political system that is sometimes broken.

There are many things for black Americans to be disappointed about, but there have been significant political changes which will impact the black community especially. Health care reform now makes it impossible for insurance companies to deny coverage based on prior conditions and the war in Iraq has ended. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t more work to be done.