“I still have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream – one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed, ‘We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream . . .”
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr speaks before a crowd of 250,000 civil rights advocates (of several races), standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, paying his respects to the man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation and calling for an end to racial division in America. He was the 16th of 18 speakers, but this became his day in history.
The event was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, organized as a mass public demonstration in support of Civil Rights Legislation proposed by President John F. Kennedy earlier that year.
Dr. King’s speech became a landmark in our history as he tied everything from the Constitution to the Emancipation Proclamation together to point out the injustice still prevalent at that time, and to share his vision of a time when the color of one’s skin would be unimportant.
We have come a long way since that summer day in ’63. I believe that extremists on both ends of the spectrum, deaf to Dr. King’s message, are the only hindrance to the final realization of his dream. At the same time I share his faith that we will get there.
“…Law alone cannot make men see right…”. In the early morning hours Civil rights activist Medger Evers is assassinated by a rifle shot in the driveway of his Jackson, Mississippi home.
Evers was a WWII veteran, having served in the European theater. When he returned home he attended college and in the fifties became involved in the civil rights movement.
Just hours before his death, President John F. Kennedy had given a moving speech calling for civil rights legislation. Whether you grew up in the sixties like my peers and I did, or were an adult then, or are too young to remember, take 6 minutes to watch this video. Be thankful for the rights we all experience now; and for brave men like these. A little 5 months later, JFK would share Medgers fate.
President John Fitzgerald Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Thanksgiving must have been miserable in ’63.
This being the 55th anniversary of that terrible event, the coverage has been immense, so there isn’t much I could add about the event itself. And I would just as soon not mention the person who took JFK from us. So…a little history about JFK that not everyone may know.
To say that JFK came from a political family is an understatement. In the latter part of the nineteen century and early of the twentieth, both of his grandfathers were rivals in Massachusetts politics. John Francis “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald rose from a Boston shopkeeper’s son to be Mayor, a US Representative and political boss, and was none to happy when PJ Kennedy’s son Joseph began courting his daughter Rose. PJ served in the Mass House and Senate and was also a political mover and shaker.
Nonetheless, Honey Fitz loved the many resulting grandchildren, doting on his namesake, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
JFK’s father rose in politics as well, making note as an Irish Catholic appointed to Ambassador to England for FDR. Joe brought his children with him, and JFK watched the German bombing of England first hand. Joe was a controversial isolationist and did not have FDR’s trust.
During his senior year at Harvard JFK would write a thesis called “Why England Slept” about England’s pre-war actions. Joe would see this published, although it didn’t win a Pulitzer like the 1957 “Profiles in Courage” by JFK…which Joe also made sure was acclaimed.
JFK’s older brother Joe was being groomed for high political office, but was killed in WWII while piloting a B-24 Liberator on a dangerous mission over Europe. So the mantle fell to “Jack”, also a war hero for his exploits in the Pacific Theater.