I wonder today, the 40th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. about that word legacy. Because this is a man that left more than a legacy, he changed the course of history. Which is his legacy. Is he also legend? Because he did what no one believed him to be able to do. He stood up when every one else sat down. He showed courage when every one else were cowards.
There are time that I wish I could have been there with Dr. King. But there is a part of me that wonders if I would have had the courage to stand by his side during those times. If I could have taked the senseless beatings, the constant death threats, the bombings, etc. Because life hasn’t been easy for me, and I’ve seen some stuff that I never want to live through again, but nothing as extreme or constant as the perils that Dr. King faced.
I wonder if the kids that run around on the south side of Chicago realize that that empty lot on the corner was once lived in by Dr. King himself. If they realize that the city they live in was once said to be the worst experience of Dr. King’s life. It was in Chicago that Dr. King faced some of the worst racism he had ever experienced. Which surprises a lot of people, even today. He spent three months living in the ghetto’s of Chicago, his house was blown up twice, shot at several times, bricks through the windows, and it was in the self proclaimed black friendly North. It wasn’t in the depths of Alabama or Mississippi or Louisiana that Dr. King feared for his life the most, but Chicago. And while his life was ended on this day 40 years ago, in Memphis, I wonder what he would think of the progress, or lack there of, since his passing.
Our neighborhoods are riddled with racism, our schools, our businesses, everything is still deeply rooted in racism. I know, it’s a harsh thing to say, but it’s true. Think about it. How many times have you heard an off comment at work about another race? Or been sitting in a class and only seen one black student, and they are sitting by themselves? Or sat in a teachers lounge and heard teachers complain exclusively about their black students, but only when the black teachers aren’t around. And even the opposite, where black teachers complain non stop about their white students. Racism is still alive today, and it is evident in every aspect of our lives. You just have to open your eyes more to see it.
And the fact that this racism is so prevelant in today’s society, makes me wonder what we are teaching the next generation. If we are finally breaking the cycle, forty years after one of the greatest Civil Rights Leaders of all time was murdered for a dream of equality. I ask what you do to end racism, and where you draw the line when a friend makes a racist joke. And I’m not saying I’m perfect, no one is, but realized we all do it is the beginning to the solution.