Monday, Aug. 28, 2023 marked the 60th anniversary of The March on Washington.
On that day, over a quarter million people gathered and heard my uncle, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — fondly remembered by yours truly as "Uncle M. L." — deliver his famous "I Have a Dream" speech."
"It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
I didn’t attend the ("I Have a Dream") March on Washington, but as someone who grew up in, and even got married during the 1960s, while my siblings and cousins were also coming of age, I was already involved in a movement; learning firsthand at the feet of my Uncle M.L. and my amazing father, the Rev. A.D. King.
My siblings and I marched in "The Children’s March" soon after that momentous, tumultuous day in the summer of 1963.
Later I became a volunteer youth organizer in the fair housing movement organized by my father, and others, in Kentucky.
This writer marched during protests, and even went to jail.
On these anniversaries, memories become even more vivid.
Yet, while this writer has always lived with the memories and lessons of those days, with my family, I know the memory and legacy of Dr. King's message still live undiminished today, withstanding all tests of time and tumult.
Uncle M.L. was guided by Christian sense; which is common sense; and is free to each and every one of us.
This writer has the good common sense to believe what her Uncle M.L. taught.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s most famous speech may be copyright protected, but the lessons from his common sense speech are free for all of us; and are applicable in every generation; even today.
As the oldest niece of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I often feel the "twin-emotions" of wanting to protect my uncle's legacy while fully understanding that he and his memory belong to the ages.
Globally, Dr. King will forever be acknoweledged as the most highly recognized 20th century civil rights leader. A man who shepherded America toward the promised land of racial justice.
Because of his untimely death, April 4, 1968, in Memphis Tennessee. at the hands of assassin James Earl Ray, he will also be remembered as a martyr.
Yet even this horrific deed cannot and will not erase Dr. King's enduring, living spirit.
Yet, this writer is saddened to impart, that my Uncle M.L. would be appalled at having his name associated with causes undermining the concept of the nuclear family. Agendas which ravage children's innocence.
All causes are not created equal.
While carelessly using Dr. King's words, this writer has seen groups attempt to justify actions that my Uncle would never have condoned.
For his creed was deeply rooted in Judeo-Christian beliefs.
Dr. King was a devout follower of Jesus. He believed Christ came to seek and save the lost. Uncle M.L.'s love for all of humanity was grounded in his love for all of God's people.
He did not champion every cause, political agenda, or social movement.
My Uncle took his lessons primarily from the holy, infallible word of God.
As a protector of the King Family legacy, this writer is not willing to sit back silently and watch my Uncle's legacy be twisted and warped to embrace nonsense.
One of the most commonly cited quotes from my Uncle is "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," from his famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."
The lesson that we can take from this quote and my Uncle’s life is that he believed that people should be treated with human dignity and respect.
We know from his life that he believed human rights should not be abridged because of your race or your sex.
"Out of one blood, God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. What a marvelous foundation for any home!
"What a glorious and healthy place to inhabit. But America's strayed away, and this unnatural excursion has brought only confusion and bewilderment. It has left hearts aching with guilt and minds distorted with irrationality." (Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967). (See this Scripture passage for context.)
My uncle would not grant support of any kind to abortion or what some label as "abortion rights." He would not march for little boys and girls to be given the disastrous drugs and surgeries which some call "gender-affirming" care.
My uncle would likely be like Daniel of the Bible and urge America to repent.
He would likely weep to see the race/skin color wars and crime sprees invade our great urban centers, all in the name of social justice.
Through young adulthood, marriage, motherhood, and as a state legislator, human rights activist, and Christian entertainer — into 73 years of age today — this writer's life is framed by the faith, hope, and love as lovingly conveyed by "I Have a Dream."
It is also framed by my uncle's clarion lessons; truisms rooted in a strong spiritual ethic.
Let all of our lives forever be framed that way as well.
May God bless us all, each and everyone.
May God bless America!
Alveda C. King, Ph.D., is chair of the America First Policy Institute’s Center for the American Dream. She is the daughter of the late slain civil rights activist Rev. A. D. King and the niece of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She is founder of Speak for Life, and Alveda King Ministries. Dr. King is also an acclaimed author, television host, and contributor. She is author of "How Can the Dream Survive?" She served in the Georgia State House, and has been a presidential appointee, as well as a recipient of the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award. Read More — Here.
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