- Cullman, Alabama

January 21, 2014

A legacy protected by truth

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — The holiday commemorating the life and times of Martin Luther King Jr. passed with various celebrations and speeches across the nation.

Almost 46 years since King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., the United States is socially a stronger nation. Like many leaders of great movements, King did not live to see some of his dreams come true. In fact, many things are left undone, but ultimately the Civil Rights Movement has been a great success for people of all backgrounds.

During his lifetime, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI tried various tactics to discredit King. Hoover’s secret investigations tried to label King a Communist and dug into his private life in attempts to discredit his standing as a leader.

A Christian minister, King avoided endorsing political parties, holding out the hope that those elected to office would someday unanimously accept the common sense of a society that was equal in opportunity. In many ways, King and others devoted to this cause were highly successful.

King not only embraced the cause of black Americans who suffered from the lingering social and economic effects of the nation’s slavery years, he also reached out to all poor people and those of different backgrounds who were struggling to make their way in the land of freedom.

Whatever flaws King had as a man, nothing can overshadow the tremendous sacrifice and success of his brief life. Anyone who comes forward to bring justice in society comes under intense scrutiny by those who embrace tradition and fear change. While King’s life was ended by an assassin, his voice has carried forward through the years. His message, full of truth with respect to America’s principles, has endured.

One lesson from King’s life is that detractors will use any means in an attempt to divert attention from the truth. King’s message was truth concerning American society and it has endured for future generations to enjoy the freedom and promises of the dream that founded this country.