“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.
James Earl Ray, the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr is arrested in London, England where he was attempting to make his way to an African nation run by racists (ironic). He would eventually be convicted of assassinating Civil Rights leader King.
On the same day…..
…another civil rights activist is laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Robert F. Kennedy would be laid to rest within 30 yards of his brother John, assassinated only five years earlier.
150 years ago today. President Lincoln enters Richmond, the Confederate Capitol. Lincoln had been at City Point when informed that Richmond had been taken the day before by Union Army forces.
He immediately sailed on the USS Malvern, Flag Officer David Dixon Porter’s flagship for Richmond. After he disembarked, he was initially escorted through crowds by a contingent of sailors, who were very relieved when they were met by a group of Union Cavalry to assist in escorting the President to the home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
Many former slaves attempted to pay homage to Lincoln, who would not allow it. Onlookers watched from the windows and street corners.
At Davis’ house, Lincoln sat in Davis’ chair, then toured the house.
When later asked by Union Gen. Weitzel how the conquered rebels should be treated, Lincoln indicated that he would not give an order in that regard, but that his advice would be to, “Let them up easy….let them up easy”.
As for the nervous sailors and cavalrymen that escorted him? As it turns out, Lincoln was safer in the Confederate capitol that his own. He had only ten days until he would be assassinated.
103 years later to the day, another man dedicated to civil rights and the advancement of justice, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
April is a Historic month with many stories to tell.