The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

White stone statue of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Stone of Hope sculpture at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. is one of many memorials to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy.

“I have a dream . . . that one day. . .little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke these powerful words over 50 years ago. Where does his dream stand today?

It is much more likely to see children of different races playing together today in the way King dreamed. It is illegal for schools to be segregated (separated by race). There are many other signs of progress towards equality. Laws have been made to stop people from excluding African Americans from restaurants and stores. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed practices that kept African Americans from voting. In one of the best examples of progress, 45 years after King’s speech, Barak Obama became the first African American president.

Yet there are still signs that King’s dream has not been fully achieved. In recent years, there have been many incidents of police officers shooting unarmed African American men. This has led to a movement called Black Lives Matter that demonstrates against violence towards African Americans.

There has been controversy in many Southern states about what to do about monuments to the Confederacy, the side that fought during the Civil War to keep slavery. Many people have tried to keep these monuments in place. Many others have peacefully protested for their removal.  Many cities and states have taken them down.

So many people have been inspired to speak out for freedom and against oppression. This may perhaps be the greatest part of Martin Luther King, Jr’s legacy.

What Do You Think Where do you think Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream stands today?

Photo Credit: NPS Photo