Today is both Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and Barack Obama’s Second Inauguration.
So, it seems the ideal time to reassess the historical legacy of MLK. The History News Network regroups a series of articles and essays on Martin Luther King, Jr., and his continuing significance.
Martin Luther King, Jr., played a crucial role as a leader in the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, successfully pushing for abolition of Jim Crow Laws, as well as passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1964. His speeches galvanized a generation of Civil Rights activists and demanded the attention of the entire American people. The Civil Rights movement brought about significant political and cultural changes in the United States that arguably constituted a social revolution.
Since King’s tragic death in 1968, his ideas and methods of nonviolent protest have gained an even broader audience of citizens and activists pushing for democratic reforms and human rights legislation around the world.
News organizations are rightly highlighting the links between Martin Luther King and President Obama today, but they often see very different connections. The AP reports on the Inauguration. Eugene Robinson offers an opinion piece on “The Black President No Longer” in the Washington Post. The Washington Post offers a series of surprising facts about MLK, as well as an editorial and a report on how MLK Day was celebrated in Washington, DC. Tavis Smiley provides his perspective on the Inauguration at CBS.
Historian Clayborne Carson (Stanford University) offers an interview on MLK’s legacy.
NPR provides analysis and commentary on President Obama’s Inaugural Address. A panel of commentators at the Guardian provide reactions from the U.K. to President Obama’s Inaugural Address and the Inauguration Day ceremonies.