Who said, “If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live?” This powerful statement was made by Martin Luther King, Jr. in a speech in Detroit, Michigan, June 23, 1963. Sadly within a few years, Dr. King was to fulfill his own declaration. Furthermore, what was it that he died for? The answer may lie in his infamous “I Have A Dream” speech where he declared:
"Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal'."
Dr. King had studied the U.S. Constitution and knew that we, as a nation, were not living up to its founding principles. Men and women were not being judged by the content of their character but instead the color of their skin.
This great nation has done much to correct this situation. Some might argue that it has not done enough. However, we are a nation that was founded with a near perfect Constitution, but our great nation is run by imperfect human beings. As a nation we fought a bloody, brutal Civil War to end slavery; and as a nation we demonstrated, sometimes rioted, and even used the federal military troops to uphold the corrective policy of desegregation.
Yes, there are still racists, bigots, sexists and other undesirables amongst us today. But let the rest of us hold dear that creed that Dr. King loved so dearly:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, or whatever) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Dr. King believed in freedom for all and looked forward to the day when we all would be free:
"From every mountainside, let freedom ring. When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
As we near Dr. King’s memorial, take time to review what he said and what he stood for. Also, take some time to review our Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Let’s preserve his memory by standing for those principles. They may even be worth dying for.
Perry F. Louden, Jr.