“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That's the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, an event that sent shock waves reverberating around the world. A Baptist minister and founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), King had led the civil rights movement since the mid-1950s, using a combination of impassioned speeches and nonviolent protests to fight segregation and achieve significant civil-rights advances for African Americans. His assassination led to an outpouring of anger among black Americans, as well as a period of national mourning that helped speed the way for an equal housing bill that would be the last significant legislative achievement of the civil rights era.
As a child of 12 years of age, I recall watching the news of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination and hearing the sobs of my grieving mother overcome by the emotions of such an evil act of violence toward a man who represented hope and peace. At the time other than the songs we sang at assembly at the elementary school that I attended such as “We Shall Overcome” I was not that aware of what he represented to all oppressed people of color and that he fought for Civil Rights and Racial Equality. At the time, all I knew is that he was important enough to have brought my mother to tears with such deep emotion that is reserved for the death of a loved one. The images on our black and white television set of the riots, the chaos and the fires torched by anger frightened me. Our neighborhood in the South Bronx had already been burned down for other selfish reasons. Singing “we shall overcome” took on additional significance. How could this be possible that a man who was a Reverend, who represented non-violence and PEACE be shot to death only to silence him?
Dr. King’s Legacy
After her husband’s death, Coretta Scott King established the Atlanta-based Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change (also known as the King Center) to promote King’s principles and concepts of nonviolent struggle. She also led the successful effort to honor her husband with a federally mandated King national holiday, which was first celebrated in 1986 Additionally, she and the King siblings successfully pursued a civil case in 1999 — King Family versus Jowers and Other Unknown Co-Conspirators — in which the jury concluded that there was a conspiracy involved in the assassination of Dr. King.”
For 56 years after my childhood memories of Dr. King’s tragic death, pursuing The Dream for others and protecting the civil and human rights through a free and appropriate public education first as a teacher, a Professor, and School Leader in service to others. I had the opportunity to visit Atlanta Georgia for my granddaughter’s college graduation from Georgia State University. I took the time while in Atlanta, to visit the Center for Civil and Human Rights. This walk through the history of King’s life and the history of the Civil Rights movement was indeed inspirational.
The King Legacy continues and has been kept alive by his adult children. A Seat at the Table a production by Georgia Public Broadcasting featured the King Legacy. Dr. King’s son Martin Luther King III, and his daughter Reverend Bernice Albertina King, CEO King Center. The teaching and the learning continues and this amazing history and genesis of Civil Rights is being passed on from generation to generation. I am very proud that my granddaughter, Miraya Vargas who contributed to this important production. To view the interview click on the link below.
Living the Dream: Ruby Bridges Paves the Way
"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ruby Bridges was born September 8, 1954. On November 14, 1960, at six years of age she was the first African-American to attend an all-white public elementary school in the American South. Ruby was escorted to school by her mother and U.S. Marshalls for her protection due to violent mobs. This act of courage paved the way for the Civil Rights legislation that was being led by Dr. King. In the photo below Ruby Bridges now age 64 is featured with the famous Norman Rockwell painting of the integration of an all-white school.
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