August 28, 2013
HIS PARTICULAR GENIUS...:
A modern founding father (Nicholas Burns, AUGUST 28, 2013, Boston Globe)
Here is why I believe King is the most significant American since Lincoln in his impact on how we live and work together in the world's oldest democracy.King changed America forever. It was largely his movement that finally extinguished Jim Crow in the South, ending the overt racism and segregation that had persisted for a century after the Emancipation Proclamation. In a very real way, King picked up where Lincoln had left America at the end of the Civil War. That America had yet to overcome what Condoleezza Rice calls the "original sin" of our Constitution: African-Americans were not treated as fully human.King led that fight more skillfully and convincingly than any American in our history. He offered a hopeful, transcendent idea of how America could be truly great. Meacham observed in Time that during his memorable speech at the Aug. 28, 1963, march on Washington, "King -- like Jefferson and Lincoln before him -- projected an ideal vision of an exceptional nation . . . In doing so, King defined the best of the nation as surely as Jefferson did in Philadelphia in 1776 or Lincoln did at Gettysburg in 1863."King also found a way to touch the conscience of white Americans all too complacent about the need for change during the tumultuous decades of the civil rights struggle from Birmingham to Little Rock, Selma, and beyond. It was not preordained that the most important black leader would wave a flag of nonviolent civil disobedience and redemption rather than hatred and revenge.
...lay in framing the argument in the terms of the Founding, making it undeniable to any American.Posted by Orrin Judd at August 28, 2013 5:04 PM