An Appreciation Deferred

Anthony Thames
Spare Change News

On April 4, 1968, the day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee, I was a five-year-old boy, unable to fully grasp the enormity of the situation. I do remember the somber mood both in school as well as at my home. I distinctly recall my mom crying throughout the remainder of that tragic day.

Having studied the lives and events of the civil rights movement, I actually came away admiring the more militant activists like Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. Dr. King was someone I reviled. I thought it was weak and pitiful to allow others to beat, spit, and yell racial epithets at you while pursuing a God-given right to human equality. I wondered how a people could allow this constant abuse and not stand up and fight.

In my later years I’ve come to truly appreciate the remarkable strength and courage exhibited by Dr. King and the men, women and children in the civil rights movement.

Dr. King has enhanced my faith in God and Country, though as even he said, “the wheels of change are sometimes slow.” Dr. King believed that if people were to dig deep into their consciences, they would find a common good.

Today we are bearing witness to a new kind of movement. Ordinary folks have converged to express their discontent with the ever-growing inequality in our society. I am amazed at how the rich and the powerful, through the media, have made these people out to be antagonists, troublemakers, thugs, or sometimes even “un-American.”

Un-American, to me, is gaining extreme wealth through the support of American consumers and then sending jobs outside of America strictly for profit and greed. There seems to be absolutely no regard for the men, women and families who seek the opportunity to support themselves. All this is happening while prices are going up and incomes are going down (if you’re fortunate enough to have a job).

Dr. King was once quoted as saying, “One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”

Prior to his death, Dr. King began to focus on all forms of social injustices in America. He once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I theorize that it was at this point in time when his life was in extreme danger. I believe the powers that be will do anything to maintain the status quo.

Words could never express my deep-felt gratitude to Dr. King and the movement. In my eyes, this man, above and beyond any other, exemplifies the true meaning of humanity.
His contribution prompts me to act. I am personally compelled to do whatever I can to make Dr. King’s dream a reality.

Happy New Year, folks, please support Spare Change Newspaper. If not, then accept a smile (it costs nothing).

ANTHONY THAMES is a Spare Change News writer and vendor.




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