Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images
A bird flies from the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on the National Mall January 15, 2012 in Washington, DC.
Today, Americans will remember the I-have-a-dream Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr; the March on Washington in 1963 that turned the tide in favor of civil rights – so that children "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." For that was King's greatest accomplishment and his legacy's lifeblood.
But there was more to King's activism than race. The full title of that historic 1963 rally was The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. King was fighting economic injustice. He was calling for a moral reckoning. He was agitating against the Vietnam War. By the spring of 1968, King honed in on poverty and war. On April 4, 1968 in Memphis, he had been writing a Sunday sermon entitled, "Why America May Go to Hell." Clearly, he did not feel his work was done. His assassination that day stole his chance to realize the rest of his dreams.
Forty-four years later, America has President Barack Obama, but it also has greater disparity in wealth and a shrinking middle class. The country is still stained by war – witness last week’s video of Marines’ degradation of corpses in Afghanistan.
In 2012, what battles would Dr. King still want to fight?
Joe Hicks, Vice President, Community Advocates, Inc., described as a non-traditional civil rights and human rights organization
Melina Abdullah, Professor and Chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles; Chapter President, California Faculty Association, California State University