“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
– Martin Luther King
We often think of Dr. King as a hero to African-Americans but I think he is a hero for all Americans. Actually, for all humans. His dream was not only for himself but for all people. He chose to elevate himself by bringing all up with him rather than pushing others down.
Dr. King’s words inspired people from all sides. His actions opened hearts and minds. His life showed that anyone from any circumstance can move mountains.
I was reminded of this last evening when the glorious Octavia Spencer from “The Help” (which I wrote about here) accepted her Golden Globe with these words, “With regard to domestics in this country, Dr. Martin Luther King said it best. ‘All labor that uplifts dignity in this country is worthwhile’.”
I know that we have not fully reached the promised land but we have traveled very far. There are signs big and small that his legacy have changed this country. Yes, we have an African-American president but there are signs closer to home and more meaningful to me. My daughter’s favorite Disney princess is Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog”. While she is a princess freak in general, the one she carries around most and asks for consistently is the one that looks least like her. And I love that. Children are not born with hate and prejudice; she is proof of that.
Whites may have thought themselves free before but they were not. No society is truly free when anyone is oppressed. And no heart is free when burdened by hate. So thank you, Dr. King. You made this white Southern girl’s life better. You made my country better. You made my world better. Somehow thank you doesn’t seem enough.