Still Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

by Dr. E. Faye Williams

(Trice Edney Wire) – For those who rejoiced when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. died, they must be disappointed to know that we still celebrate the work Dr. King did to make this a better world.  Some thought that killing the Dreamer would kill his dream of a better world for all of us. I’ll be the first to admit we still have a long way to go to realize his dream, but for those who loved and admired him, we’re still on the battlefield to make this a better world.

Every year on January 15th, people brave the ice, wind, and snow to hear somebody talk about this man all over the world. It’s funny that Dr. King was a paper boy when he was a child and at that time, he wanted to be a fireman. In his young life, he knew that Black people and white people did not have the same rights. That didn’t cause him to hate white people who held the view that it was okay to have it that way. He worked for change.

Thankfully, there were and still are people other than Black people who continue to work for justice and equal rights and opportunities for all. We also honor them when we honor Dr. King.

We still have a lot of work to do. Many of our people who live better today than they did while Dr. King was with us, don’t understand that because of the work Dr. King and other civil and human rights workers did, made their lives better. It’s a tragedy that so many see January 15th, the day of Dr. King’s birth, as a day off work and nothing more.    

While we honor Dr. King, let us take the time to honor other soldiers who worked along with him, and some in their own movements, at a more dangerous time than we have today.  Let us remember Dr. C.T. Vivian, Dr. Joseph Lowery, Dr. Ralph Abernathy, Ms. Coretta Scott-King, Dick Gregory, Amelia Boynton, Fannie Lou Hamer, Medgar and Charles Evers, Viola Liuzzo, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Myrlie Evers and more. Let us not forget them as we honor Dr. King.

Like Dr. King, these people risked their lives for us.  Advancements were made in civil and human rights because of their struggles and commitment. They worked to end white supremacy and various forms of discrimination.

Later there were younger people like Eleanor Holmes Norton, Johnny Ford, Jesse Jackson, A.J. Cooper, Julian Bond, Deacons for Defense and so many more.  Where are soldiers like them today working to honor Dr. King and others who gave their all for our benefit? Once in a while, we see somebody who understands that while we honor Dr. King, his work is not finished. 

I look at people who’re gung-ho about Trump. Some are saying they’re not voting and my heart bleeds that they do not honor those who came before them–some who gave their lives because they cared more about future generations than about their personal safety. Few people are still giving their all to make things better for all of us, but where are the great numbers of our people that we so need? Wherever you are, you need to come home,  stop fighting each other, and fighting for each other. You need to work for Unity in our Community as Rev. Oliver Buie reminds us. You need to join the work of people like Bishop William Barber, Dr. Franklyn Malone, William McMurray (founder of the RAC for gun security) and Tuskegee’s long-time Mayor Johnny Ford. It’s time to step up to convince our people if they do nothing else, they must vote in 2024!

(Dr. E. Faye Williams, President of The Dick Gregory Society.  President Emerita of the National Congress of Black Women.)