Monday, January 18, 2010

How Long?

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States.

There are many, many famous speeches by Dr. King. His powerful writing, combined with the oratory of a preacher, sways the heart and raises goosebumps in listeners. One of my favourites, which combines his own words and those of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," is a particularly fitting memory of him on this day.

In view of the many racist comments about the people of Haiti in the wake of the terrible devastation there and continuing racism the world over, Dr. King's answer to the question "how long will prejudice last?" seems too, too optimistic.

But it is a much needed reminder for us all about just how very far we have to go.

How long is "not long"?


L Avery Brown said...

What a wonderful posting. As a woman who was raised in the south the issue of race has always been, for me, one that creates the greatest tension among my friends and family.

But for me, personally, it's always been a nonissue. My father, who was born in a small mountain town in NC back in 1918 & lived through the civil rights movement, always told me it matters not how a person looks on the outside because we all bleed the same. I'm sure he borrowed that from someone but I took those words to heart.

It galls me to no end to hear people get their smarmy digs in about the people of Haiti. How cold and petty. I'm sure MLK would weep to know there are those who would turn their backs on others during their darkest hour instead of reaching a hand forward to help guide them to the light.

Thank you for your post.

L Avery Brown

ChrisJ said...

L Avery Brown,

Thank you for your kind words I'm glad you enjoyed the post. We can only hope that all the voices raised will help.

Ellie Great said...

Nice post.

Ciss B said...

There is so much sadness for me over the way there seems to be such a remnant of those who are racist this long after MLK worked so hard to change the inclusive perspective for so many in our nation.

When I hear the comments by some in our country I am ashamed as a citizen and a member in this society.

I still pray for change every day as I have since MLK's time in this country so many years ago.

ChrisJ said...

@Ellie Great,

Thank you.


I know how you feel, but we have to remind ourselves that with progress and even backsliding, things are better than they were, even in the fifties.

Simon said...

Hi Chris

So very true, bigotry in all it's forms is tiresome and simply shows up the people who express it,for the fools that they are.

ChrisJ said...


Yes, fools and worse.

Owen Gray said...

King knew that change would not come quickly. But he looked forward to the day when "justice shall flow like water and righteousness like a mighty stream."

ChrisJ said...

I hope he was right - about the mighty stream. For the last 40+ years it seems to be in fits and starts and backings-up.