NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, January 21st, 2019

Martin Luther King, Jr.: “One day the South will recognize its real heroes”

Today is Mar­tin Luther King Jr. Day, and like we do every year in hon­or of Dr. King’s mem­o­ry, I’m post­ing an excerpt from his Let­ter From Birm­ing­ham Jail.

In these pas­sages, Dr. King is look­ing for­ward to an age when his native region of the Unit­ed States (the South) cel­e­brates and hon­ors the work of the civ­il rights move­ment, rather than sub­ject­ing it to vio­lence and scorn.

Near­ly fifty-six years have elapsed since these words were writ­ten. Sad­ly, racism and injus­tice remain a painful real­i­ty for many peo­ple in this country.

Nev­er­the­less, the strug­gle for greater free­dom and equal­i­ty continues.

Here’s Dr. King. (Note that typos are con­tained in the orig­i­nal manuscript.)

One day the South will rec­og­nize its real heroes.

They will be the James Mered­iths, with the noble sense of pur­pose that enables them to face jeer­ing and hos­tile mobs, and with the ago­niz­ing lone­li­ness that char­ac­ter­izes the life of the pioneer.

They will be old, oppressed, bat­tered Negro women, sym­bol­ized in a sev­en­ty two year old woman in Mont­gomery, Alaba­ma, who rose up with a sense of dig­ni­ty and with her peo­ple decid­ed not to ride seg­re­gat­ed bus­es, and who respond­ed with ungram­mat­i­cal pro­fun­di­ty to one who inquired about her weariness:

“My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest.”

They will be the young high school and col­lege stu­dents, the young min­is­ters of the gospel and a host of their elders, coura­geous­ly and non­vi­o­lent­ly sit­ting in at lunch coun­ters and will­ing­ly going to jail for con­science’ sake.  One day the South will know that when these dis­in­her­it­ed chil­dren of God sat down at lunch coun­ters, they were in real­i­ty stand­ing up for what is best in the Amer­i­can dream and for the most sacred val­ues in our Judaeo Chris­t­ian her­itage, there­by bring­ing our nation back to those great wells of democ­ra­cy which were dug deep by the found­ing fathers in their for­mu­la­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion and the Dec­la­ra­tion of Independence.

Take a few min­utes today to read the whole thing.

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