The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. encompasses influential decisions, monumental actions and steadfast progressions of humanitarian rights that reach far beyond the civil rights movement.
A leader of all people, Dr. King never chose fear, but always chose courage and determination when fighting for civil rights in the face of oppression, ignorance and violence. He refused to allow prison, violence or the threat of death sway his end mission. Instead, he stood beside his goal of achieving rights for all through nonviolent protests.
Dr. King maintained a vision for a more diverse America where all people enjoyed the benefits of equality. During a time when the opposition implemented legislation that withheld rights from people of color and expressed hatred through beatings and killings, Dr. King continued to take the high road.
He realized that violence would play into the scheme of the opposition. He knew that violent retaliation would fit exactly into the assumed mold that many had formed regarding civil rights activists. Because of that, he constantly preached that nonviolence will ultimately allow the opposition to prevail.
Dr. King also understood the impact of unifying the masses in the push for one common goal. Separately, attaining any significant progress would be a challenge. Collectively, he and other civil rights activists could affect policies and influence change nationwide. Dr. King’s leadership contributed to the overall success of the civil rights movement in the mid-1900s and continues to impact civil rights movements in the present.
While King and other leaders generated momentous strides for equality, the push for civil rights remains a preeminent challenge today. We continue to experience poverty in the inner cities. We continue to fight for equal pay regardless of gender or race. We continue to battle education inequality. We continue to call for justice for all.
Dr. King’s legacy provides a staple model for how we combat inequality today. We cannot get comfortable in our current state. Too many people are relying on us to recognize and fight the inequalities that exist today.
Dr. King’s generation did their part. Now, it’s time to do ours. The next generation needs us.
As you engage with Dr. King’s platforms and interact with the timeline of monumental civil rights accomplishments and events, reflect on how far we have come, and recall how far we have to go.