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As a young woman from the North East, I was inspired by MLK and also fascinated by his bravery. In the 60tys most people in the North were unaware of what was actually happening in the South. Until I took a trip to North Carolina to visit my brother in-law at Fort Bragg and met for the first time my sister in-law who was born and raised in the South. I was appalled by the attitudes and hypocrisy of the people I met. It changed me, I became a follower of Dr. King. I would like to believe that things have changed in the South; I know they haven't. The civil rights movement, and Dr. King's leadership in it, laid the foundation for lasting change. His courage and commitment to justice and equality are an example for us all. He is an example of what we can accomplish if we stand together and fight for what is right. We owe it to the legacy of Dr. King to continue to fight for equality and justice.

America has no hero's to look to now. We must reflect on our past hero's to inspire all of us to love one another

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Jan 16, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

"silence equals complicity." . This is why the Right is against any CRT education in schools, etc. Pretend none of that past ever happened.

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Makes me want to vomit.

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Beautifully said. A great tribute. As a jr high school student, I watched the 1963 March on Washington on tv and listened to the I Have a Dream Speech. As a senior in high school, I was preparing my speech for graduation when MLK Jr was assassinated. I saw that happen on tv; and I was horrified and very saddened. I included a message from MLK Jr in my graduation speech. During my college years I protested and fought for the justice of which MLK Jr spoke. I had thought at that time that maybe I had made a little bit of a difference. However, now, more than 54 years later, I am also very saddened to see how little progress we have really made. I have a dream that we will see that justice in my lifetime. And I am copying and pasting the MLK Jr quote you used to end your post, because it says so much of what I am dreaming for our society. “True peace,” he wrote in Stride Toward Freedom, “is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”

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founding

I was there in the crowd on the left side facing the Dr. King. Little did I know then that my current wife had managed to place herself less than 10 feet from Dr. King during the speech by using a press pass as an editor of the Penn State Daily. The power of his words engulfed me. My first wife and I had been involved in "the struggle" for several years, organizing from our apartment the picketing of a segregated movie theatre across the street in Arlington, Virginia, which ultimately changed its racist policy as a result of our systemic picketing. We conducted a house by house registration of Blacks with our liberal Democratic women friends who wore hats and gloves when they drove older folks by car to the home of the Registrar. They had to take a multi-question Virginia history test first which they had to "pass" in order to register. White folks didn't have to take the test of course. It was a long battle with many moving parts, some up and many down. A brave woman from a smaller Black ghetto in Arlington agreed to be the first plaintiff in the case brought to eliminate the $2 "Poll Tax." We won years later in the Supreme Court, 7-2, with the help of Thurgood Marshall brilliantly arguing the case. Then, SNCC and CORE organizing in rural Virginia and chased by the Klan led by a local sheriff with a tiny revolver stuck in his belt which busted up a statewide Black and White political meeting, followed years later by proudly reading MLK Jr.'s speech on the floor of the Virginia General Assembly, with a huge Black audience in the balcony and an empty almost all White Chamber, as an elected Member from Arlington and Alexandria. America, our society certainly has made progress but it is far from completion! It will happen, I'm sure of that, for our youth know better and the arc of justice bends towards progressive inclusion and understanding. But it is all on the line in November 2024; let's get registering our youth and voting to save our Democracy!

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author

What an interesting and encouraging story, Ira. Thanks for sharing.

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founding

Thanks Steve; my nonpartisan C3 foundation www.Inspire2Vote.org has just registered its 100,000th high school senior in competitive states. It is amazing that virtually all key Dem campaign committees pay absolutely no attention, and invest none of their multi-million stash, in high school senior voter reg! 3.3M of them will graduate in 5 months largely unregistered. However, recently enacted AVR (Automatic Voter Registration) in 20 states automatically registers rich suburban and rural students when they get a driver’s license but ignore poor inner city and of color kids who can’t afford a car. Let’s put pressure on Governors and legislators to expand AVR in their states by Executive Order or legislation NOW to automatically register all eligible of age public high school students and college students NONPARTISAN. Why not? The technology is there to identify each student and their signature online. Let’s get to work for democracy!

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founding

I forgot to mention that 3.5 million more high school seniors will graduate in June 2024. Add it up? About 7 Million 18 yr olds and millions more in college— expand the legislation and by Exec Order by 10 Million young voters, most of whom are eager to participate in our democracy! Can you get to work on this in your state SubStackers?

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author

Ira, just a note to underscore what a great initiative this is. Thank you for the effort. Let’s be sure to discuss again closer to the next election; I’m glad to help amplify it.

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founding

Terrific thanks Steve; this can work

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Jan 16, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

His praises cannot be over sung, his processes over emphasized, his message over noted.

Would that more people would dig into the essence of MLK to understand, not to render a quip

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Jan 16, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

Thank you. Beautifully stated, Steven. When we do nothing to call it out, we are complicit. I firmly believe this.

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The presence of justice...yes. We still have much work to do.

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As Steve Schmidt said, MLK is one of our Founding Fathers.

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Jan 17, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

Such important words: 'He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it,” King said. “He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it." Thank you for your fine writing, Steven. As always, you inspire us.

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author

Thank you, Audrey.

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Jan 16, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

After the Civil War, a Freedmen's Bureau was created to help the freed slaves with food, clothing, medical needs, land, schools. Reconstruction and three Amendments were passed to help blacks gain equality.

In these present times when we are witnessing white supremacists,laws passed to keep blacks from voting, more blacks imprisoned with perp walks primarily blacks, knees on necks, all related to the Republican Party which is interfering with our teaching of history in public schools, let us not forget that Andrew Johnson and the dominating South belonged to the Democrat Party. Can't be for teaching one thing and not the other. History repeating itself, just in a different way.

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I may be mistaken, but I believe black Americans might begin to feel things are changing when we white Americans begin to feel inspired by the struggles so many black Americans faced. Their ancestors faced truly terrible hardships. How would anyone feel if they were forced to witness someone they knew hung from a tree and left there as a warning? How would any white person feel if the home they had finally managed to purchase was assaulted with burning crosses planted on their lawn? Our personal ancestors may not have done that, but nonetheless it was done by their fellow Americans at the time. While lynchings and burning crosses may be a thing of the past, the surreptitious efforts to keep blacks down continue to this day. It has to stop. MLK Day should be reverenced by all Americans in recognition of the “last great measure” of the man who died trying to make us see the injustice of it all.

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