Justin Blowers

Overcoming adversity, perseverance, unity and strength.

These are words many use to describe the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The man who led the marches, held the sit-ins, preached the Gospel and wrote the letter from Birmingham jail and who was ultimately killed due to his beliefs.

His beliefs that everyone should be treated equally. The belief that we are all children of God made in his image and that we should treat each other as such. The belief that as citizens of the United States of America, African Americans are part of “We the people” that The Constitution refers to. The belief that skin color does not determine the value of a person or the rights they hold. The belief that every person deserves be treated like a person.

He was a man with a dream.

He, and every single member of the Civil Rights Movement, fought for that dream.

Now, fought might not be the right word. Not because it’s not true, but because it’s not strong enough. They persevered through discrimination, lynchings, assassinations, fire hoses, attack dogs, being beaten and many more cruel and torturous fates including death.

In Montgomery, there’s a memorial to the 41 who were killed during this struggle that Dr. King led.

In the end, the Civil Rights Act of 1957, 1964 and 1968 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were all passed. The earliest signing took place less than 100 years ago; even less than 80 years ago. The Boll Weevil Monument and some businesses in Enterprise are older than the Civil Rights Movement.

Dr. King was a man of focus, of vision and of proof of what happens when you fight for what you believe in, to what happens when you work together for the common good of the people, to what happens when you look at your fellow man as your fellow man, when you realize you’re all the same under the eyes of God because he loves each and every one of us and we were made in his image.

Overcoming adversity, perseverance, unity and strength.

That’s what Dr. King taught. That’s what he left behind for all of us to learn. And although he was assassinated 52 years ago, it’s a legacy that the world has felt.

Dr. King’s legacy still lives on today, that is a simple fact. It lives in desegregation. It lives every time an African American steps into their polling place. It lives every time somebody buys a home, gets hired or even so much as goes to the movies.

The movement he led and its repercussions uprooted the entire societal foundation of the country, at the time, for the better. He is a man gone but his impact was large and it cannot and will not be forgotten.

So whether his legacy lives and is felt today is not the question; it’s whether you’re keeping his legacy alive.

Justin Blowers is a staff writer for The Southeast Sun and Daleville Sun-Courier. The opinions of this writer are his own and not the opinion of the paper. He can be reached at (334) 393-2969 or by email at sjblowers@southeastsun.com.

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