Few people have had such a profound impact on a nation like Martin Luther King has for the last half century. 35 years since Martin Luther King Day was enacted, towns all over America preserve his memory with parades displaying quotes and images all over floats and musical groups. This is great, but I wanted to hear how people truly felt with the way society is now and the impact MLK has had on them. I asked each 5 questions.
1. What does MLK Day mean to you? How has his legacy affected you?
2. As an African American in 2018 America, how do you think society has changed if it has since MLK walked the streets?
3. How far do you think Civil Rights has come since then?
4. How far do you think Civil Rights has come since then? What do you wish to change in your community or society in general?
5. One word to describe this day.
While you read these, think of your answers to these questions. Even if you aren't African-American, think of how MLK impacted all Americans.
1. The legacy of Doctor Martin Luther King means to me in a sense opportunity, and that's what it was about. The Civil Rights Movement was about opportunity, not just for minorities, but for everybody and because of the civil right movement not only do I, but every American citizen and even naturalized native-born and even immigrants have opportunities, rights, and privileges that we did not have prior to that. Even though they were supposedly guaranteed by the constitution that we all have right... life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
2. I think awareness is greater, but I think some of it in recent years has lessened. That's why we're back into the overt racism now like it was in the past... we're going back a few years. I think that's the been the biggest difference. I'm 56, so I've seen it and experienced it and certainly and most commonly can tell it when I see it and when I hear it.
3. Tremendous advancements, but we had to be careful that those advancements are not further eroded. When I say further eroded, I mean they have already been eroded and we just need to make sure we get back on track and move further ahead.
4. I think it starts with individual integrity, dignity, and respect. You have to start with self-respect and self-dignity and your own integrity, and only then can you demonstrate and exhibit that to others. I say this because in order to be respected you have to first be respectful and respectable. If you're not respectable you're not going to be respectful and you certainly won't be respected.
1. It's about freedom for all people regardless of their race, you're anything. It's about all people. His legacy has broadened and opened our eyes to many things that have existed in the past. It's freedom that we should enjoy and embrace.
2. There's been a number of positive changes were not totally there. I see new improvements each and every day. All we can do is be hopeful and pray for the best.
3. Doctor Martin Luther King has made an amazing impact on where we are today, the progress being made. There have been many changes, but somehow sometimes you get certain leadership that causes you to reflect and it shows that the progress we've currently made is almost like we're taking steps back instead of taking steps forward. Somehow our freedom is something we should all treasure regardless of your race.
4. To see more activities geared towards young children to keep them off the streets. Something positive.
1. Well, it means to me that, I'm a kid from the 50-60s, I'm a kid from segregation. MLK day really means a lot and that we've come a long way. I think racial injustice is still a big deal now. It's a thing that's happening today all over the country. I've seen quite a bit of change here in Savannah. I've traveled around a little bit, but here in Savannah, there's quite a bit of change. I went to a segregated high school, never went to a high school where there was integration until I got into the military. So, in Savannah it’s a really big thing.
2. I think society has changed quite a bit, I think that our leadership in this country right now, I'm not particularly crazy about. I think it’s really setting a wedge in between the racial profile here now. Hopefully, it will get better. I don't know if I can say that our president is a racist.
4. I wish I could change our attitude towards our leadership. I wish we could get more people out to vote. I'd appreciate a better government right now.
1. MLK day means to me that it’s a culmination of where we were then and where we are now. It’s a celebration of progress. His legacy affected me in a lot of ways. Mainly it affected me by changing my whole perception of where I once was in terms of dealing with race. It affected me dealing with race more holistically, instead of confined to my own perspective. Now I see race in a much larger focus than a narrower focus like black is black, black is everything, now I see it that the world is everything and it includes everybody.
2. Actually, I think society has changed in a lot of ways. One of the things that this represents is that society has changed because recognizing Doctor King in this way is indicative of what has changed. Secondly, society has changed in a more broader perspective because of race itself in a lot of places, more places in America than not, have become more unified in terms of perspective and ideas and thought processes and how we view another.
3. We've got a lot to work on, but we've made significant progress since Doctor King.