The Legacy of a Revolutionary: Martin Luther King Jr.
Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day in which we honor the memory of Martin Luther King and what he did for America. In the journal topic today, we were told to write about the famous "I Have A Dream" speech. Here is what I wrote:
Okay, so, the speech. What is so amazing to me is that MLK came up with this speech on the spot, or so I've heard. What makes this speech iconic is the fact he didn't care about the dangers of speaking his mind. He talked about things millions of Americans were scared to talk about. That's what made him so special; he was America's voice at that time. He showed that love and light can drive out hate and darkness just as effectively, if not more effectively, than more hate and more darkness. This speech gave Americans hope and a goal, the goal being to create freedom for everybody and not just white people. His dream was a dream shared by many and it resonates with us because all of us have dreams. Sure, they may not be the same dreams that MLK had, but they're still dreams. MLK's dream seemed nearly impossible at the time because it wasn't just a problem with the citizens of America; it was a problem with the government. The government upheld and supported laws that condoned segregation. In the Plessy vs. Ferguson court case, the Supreme Court said that "separate but equal" was okay, when in reality, many colored people didn't have nearly as many rights as white people. People of color were supposed to accept the belief that they were inferior to white people. Martin Luther King came along and his actions served as a catalyst for change. His belief that peace would get rid of hate was something so... foreign to many people struggling. In the past, people would resolve problems through war. With hate. This idea that peace and love would cause change was revolutionary. MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech was so... simple, really. It was basically MLK talking about what he wanted. But he talked about his dreams as if they weren't impossible. He gave everyone hope. HOPE. It's something many people just didn't have back then and they just accepted all the bullshit racist people threw at them. MLK was one of the few people that spoke up about it. He joined people using peace and with hope. Hope for a better tomorrow. MLK understood the hatred that was going on at the time; hell, he probably experienced it himself. With the speech, he was able to step into the shoes of every single colored American at the time: the "Negro" who wasn't getting paid enough, the black children who couldn't hang out with the white kids, the people who couldn't sit at the front of the bus due to the color of their skin. People could relate to the speech. Nowadays, speeches don't resonate with us because we simply can't apply the speaker's words to our lives. "I Have A Dream" is a speech that many people can still relate to (which is sad but at the same time, we've come a long way sing the 1960's, and things can only get better from here). MLK delivered this speech in a way that made it so... powerful. He didn't need to use complicated ass vocabulary to get his point across. "I have a dream..."- can you get any more simple than that?
And here's where I continue.
Imagine how America would've been if MLK had not come along. If he decided to go with the flow of things. It's hard as hell to imagine America without him because he has a special place in our history. He reversed the racist practices that were going on in America since the 1800's. He taught Americans to stand together as brothers and sisters. As ONE. One nation, striving for a brighter future. The word American shouldn't have a skin color associated with it; like Raven Symone once said, an American is a colorless person. We are all one and the same, and MLK taught us that. He taught us the beauty of fighting with peace, not with guns or hatred. He showed us to show love when hatred is all around us. When hatred is plaguing the world, and blinding us from what is right.
MLK is a revolutionary. Why, you may ask? Because his words and his teachings didn't just affect those living during the 60's. His words and teachings affected every generation after that just as much as those living in the 60's. It is because of him that communities aren't defined by the skin color of their people, but rather by their thoughts, personalities, and energies. It is because of him that we can stand alongside each other confidently and say things can only get better. It is because of him that society is how it is now. His impact is tremendous; he had a vision for America. It was a vision many struggling Americans shared back in the day. Racism is undoubtedly still a big issue here, but dammit we are doing a hell of a lot better. I couldn't be more proud to say that. In the midst of all that is going on now, it is important to take those teachings MLK taught millions in the 60's, and apply them now. We must stand united. We are one, regardless of skin color or race.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."