(NNPA)—This month will mark the 85th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Across the nation and throughout the world community, millions of people will pay tribute and celebrate the birth of one our greatest freedom fighters and most effective leaders. The legacy of Dr. King is more than a federal holiday although we should never forget the protracted but successful struggle that was required to get that holiday recognition signed into law.
The legacy of Dr. King is more than a tall magnificent statue that now stands on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. King’s legacy is also more than a faint remembrance of the past sacrifices and victories of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. The living legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. should be a legacy of present-day continuing the good fight for freedom, justice, equality and economic empowerment in America, Africa and everywhere in the world. Yes, today that is a big order and a tremendous challenge.
As a young, statewide youth organizer from 1963 to 1968 for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in my home state of North Carolina, I witnessed first hand the incredible genius and courage of Dr. King. I also remember his militant band of preachers, community organizers and student leaders who had become impatient with the status quo of systematic racial injustice in the United States. Golden Frinks, the N.C. state field secretary of SCLC recruited and introduced me to Dr. King and SCLC. Working with Dr. King changed my life for the better.