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On Martin Luther King Day, we celebrate and honor the birthday of one of America's greatest and most noble heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Fittingly, King's actual birthday falls just prior to the inauguration. For in 2009, we will inaugurate a man who is an African-American, Barack Hussein Obama. It makes me want to cry when I think of how proud Dr. King would be. He would also very likely say something along the lines of "It ain't over till it's over", albeit more eloquently. Because racism is still a blight upon our society.
When growing up, I remember weeping as I read "Uncle Tom's Cabin", and other books which so clearly tell of the evils of slavery. But, slavery was simply beyond my comprehension --- that human beings could chain, buy, sell, beat, kill other human beings for any reason, much less for profit, and much less because of the color of one's skin, was completely incomprehensible.
BUT. I certainly do comprehend the evils of racism, a thing which still exists, because I grew up during the civil rights era, the era of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s activism. I remember the bombings, the lynchings, the shootings. I remember when little girls were killed by racists for no other reason than their skin color was not white.
A speech, a speech by a man so eloquent that we will forever remember the speech itself with tears in our eyes, led us to the changes which enabled passage of civil rights legislation, and I think that we can all feel good about that. But we can not feel that racism has been eradicated, because clearly, that is not true.
So, on this day, I think that as well as remembering Dr. King, we should look at the state of our society where racism is concerned, and consider how we can address it, eradicate it completely. It is what Dr. King would have wanted, because even as we inaugurate an African-American as the 44th President, racism remains alive and well in the United States. We must come together and refuse to tolerate acts and even words of racist intolerance;we must honor Dr. King by finishing what he started.