Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, though his birthday was actually on January 15.
Here he is photographed by the legendary Yousuf Karsh:
King's is another sad story from the 1960s. Here was an individual, loved by the people, hated by those in power, who was able to somehow capture the spirit of the time and channel it into a positive message for change and equality. I sometimes find it hard to believe that in the "Land of the Free" there was still an official policy of discrimination and oppression, all the way up until 1968 when the Civil Rights Act was finally passed. Think about that. Black America has only had 48 short years of true equality.
I won't go into the history and details of Dr. King's life and work, but I will say that perhaps the reason why we don't see too many people dedicating their lives to causes they believe in anymore is because, well, their lives just may get taken away from them. Attacked on all sides, threatened, lied about, spied on, as Dr. King was. That will make any sane person think twice about doing something like... telling the truth. Heck, Dr. King's own photographer was later revealed to be an FBI informant. Read more about that here.
And what about his assassination? Did you know that in a 1999 civil trial (King Family versus Jowers and Other Unknown Co-Conspirators), heard in an American court, that US government agencies were found guilty of King's assassination/wrongful death? You can read more about that here. Now why would certain individuals want a man like King dead? I wonder.
Dr. King said, "A time comes when silence is betrayal." Of course, he said a lot of other things, too. Why not take today to learn a bit more about the man. We won't see another like him for some time.