Today, America celebrates a number of progressive celebrations. Celebrations of freedom, liberty and equality. Today we as a nation will share in the inauguration of the nation’s first African American President who also happens to be the first black President to be re-elected. Aside from any kind of political stance or leaning, I am proud to be an American in a land where we are making progress in racial equality; although we still have a way to go.
As amazing as any inauguration is, this one also falls on two holidays for remembering civil changes and forward-looking views that were radical for their time and still cause debate today. The first is the 150th anniversary of the signing of the emancipation proclamation by the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. The emancipation proclamation was the litigation passed that ended slavery.
Mr. Lincoln fought vigorously against opposition to move America away from what was seen by supporters as a barbaric method for handling labor needs and unfair subjugation. Even though this litigation freed slaves, injustice and inequality remained for decades following it’s passage. There is always a difference between freedom and equality. While slavery ended, minorities where not given the same rights and liberties as the majority in America. From the signing of the proclamation in 1862 thorough now, minorities have struggled to gain equal ground. No time was more tumultuous than the period between 1950 and 1970. During this time many civil rights leaders would emerge; names like Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Although his birthday was a week ago, we as a nation recognize the non-violent contributions Dr. King helped bring to us all. Dr. King focused his attention and work on educating not only African American disciples about the ‘righteous’ path to change but also offering ideas and concepts to the world about why equality is the mark of a great people. Although there were rumors of infidelity, questions surrounding his character, and such; his impact was bigger than any speculation. Dr. King received his doctorate from Boston University in 1953, would be named Time’s Man of the Year in 1963, and he is a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
As we bring in the second term of President Barack Obama, we the people of this great nation, no matter our political views, skin color, or religious affiliations, share in one simple fact: we are standing on the work of those that came before us.
“Love is the only force capable of turning an enemy into a friend.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thank you Dr. King.