As the Mesa Martin Luther King Jr. Committee prepares for the annual 2013 Celebration of Dr. King’s life, Legacy and dreams this weekend, my thoughts are not only on Dr. King but also on President Abraham Lincoln.
I recently saw the Movie “Lincoln” over the holidays; it was indeed one of the best movies I’ve seen in decades. As a child and young adult I’ve all heard how President Lincoln was the man behind the Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago – thus ending slavery and later ending the Civil War, which took thousands of young Americans lives on both sides of that conflict.
Regardless of all the fighting that took place, that war and slavery came to their ends because of a few committed men endlessly going back and forth negotiating behind close doors. I’ve always had admiration and respect for Lincoln but that Hollywood movie – although I’m sure not exactly 100 percent accurate – did bring a new perspective and appreciation for his commitment and passion to get that Proclamation passed, and bring slavery and the war to an end.
So thank you, Honest Abe.
Like Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was also on a mission for racial equality, including human and civil rights for all men.
King’s steadfast commitment toward non-violence, accompanied with patient perseverance, also led him to meet with men behind close doors.
While on that battlefield there were marches, rallies and boycotts, the savior in that battle was the media. TV nightly news and news papers were key and instrumental with that cause and effect, showing marches being spit upon, attacked by mobs, police dogs, water cannons and more.
Yes, that mainstream media was the savior to the 1960s civil rights movement success in the Deep South.
America’s conscience was called into question and voices throughout America were heard loud and clear. The once-hard corps who embraced segregation would soften that strangle hold and do the right thing, ultimately resulting in integration.
Many Americans also died in that movement. Both Dr. King and President Lincoln never got to see the fruit of their labor or dreams.
I’ve written before (in 2008) on my thoughts of how Dr. King would react when Barack Obama was elected as the President. My thoughts are now on President Lincoln, and I think he’d be tickled knowing that President Obama will once again be residing in that big house at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. while serving his second term.
How fitting that on Monday, Jan. 21 – MLK Day – the Nation will celebrate the life, legacy and dreams of Dr. King and once again celebrate the inauguration of President Obama.
Like many Americans, I will reflect on both events Monday. However, my heart will hold a special place, thoughts and tribute for a man named Lincoln.
Lord, Thank you for your good and faithful servants, Abraham and Martin. I invite you to join us, the Mesa MLK Committee, for a weekend of reflection and fun-filled events. We are, indeed, “Many Faces … One Community."
John Goodie of Gilbert is a Mesa park ranger.