History Monday: Happy Birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

21 Jan

I love history!  I love when history dovetails in remarkable ways.  January 15, 1929 marked the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., later to gain his doctorate and later to become the leader of the civil rights movement in the U.S.  Amazing that he would have been 84, eh?

January 21, 2012 is a federal holiday to mark his birth.  It is also the second inauguration of Barack Obama, America’s first black president.  I say black because our mixed race president has a black wife and identifies as black now.  Those who want to quibble about him being raised in white culture by white grandparents are free to post your own blog article on that.  I regard that as a red herring argument.

January 20 is the anniversary of:  FDR’s second inauguration in 1937, FDR’s fourth inauguration in 1945, JFK’s inauguration in 1961, and Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration in 1981.  I am a staunch conservative, but my mind is boggled by the brilliance of the five men I have mentioned thus far, Dr. King, FDR, JFK, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama.  

With great brilliance and high leadership goes great responsibility.  I am firmly in favor of holding our leadership accountable for their decisions.  I especially believe there is a place for the loyal opposition.  Right now, I am mostly the loyal opposition to our current president, about to be inaugurated again.  

This year marks 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation (right after midnight on January 1, 1863).  That is the origin of watchnight church services on New Year’s Eve.  Black slave churches in the South knew the Proclamation was about to be released at midnight and waited up for it together!  This year our National Archives remained open all New Year’s Eve to display the original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.  See how cool history is??!!

This year also marks 50 years since Dr. King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial (starting his speech with “Five score years ago . . .”).  August 28, 1963.  We will commemorate that this summer.

Tomorrow marks 40 years since the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on January 22, 1973.  I believe that has a separate aspect of the freedom cause to it (“You can’t be free if you are never allowed to be born”) which I will leave for another day and another post (or more than one!).

For today, I see Barack Obama in the shadow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who is in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln.  Without the preceding history, none of these men would have stood as they did, remarkable men in history!!!

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