Tomorrow, Rep. John Lewis will attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Rep. Lewis remembers the legacy and the contribution of Martin Luther King Jr., a native of Atlanta, Georgia.
“It is fitting and very appropriate that the second inauguration of President Obama should occur on the holiday dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr.
“Without the struggle and sacrifice, without the jailings and beatings, without a history of resistance from Harriet Tubman through Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison and others, without the philosophy and discipline of non-violence as espoused by Martin Luther King Jr. and the strategic guidance of women and men in the movement from civil rights organizations like the NAACP, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and many others, there would be no Barack Obama as President of the United States.
“The confluence of these two events, the inauguration and the holiday, are like history and fate coming together. It is as though God Almighty is telling us, no matter what setbacks we see before us today—senseless school shootings, high rates of violence, the Supreme Court challenge to the Voting Rights Act, the surge in race-related hostility and meanness, rising poverty and the under-education of our youth—the dream that Dr. King had for a united America is coming to pass.
“This is what Dr. King meant when he said he had been to the mountaintop and had seen the other side. He said he knew we would get to the Promised Land. He meant that despite the difficulty of the climb, we will reach a place in this nation’s future and in the future of this world community where we will fully realize the vision of Dr. King– we are one people, one family, the human family. And we will finally make peace with the truth that no human being is worth more than any other; we are all sparks of the divine.
“This moment evokes the true meaning of the Civil Rights Movement and the abiding faith of all its participants, ‘….deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome one day..’ We are all called on the King holiday to continue to work, continue to serve, continue to struggle until this vision of humanity is finally realized.”