The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was to be dedicated on the National Mall on Sunday -- exactly 56 years after the murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi and 48 years after the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. (Because of Hurricane Irene, the ceremony has been postponed.)
These events constitute major milestones in the turbulent history of race and democracy in America, and the undeniable success of the civil rights movement -- culminating in the election of Barack Obama in 2008 -- warrants our attention and elation. Yet the prophetic words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel still haunt us: "The whole future of America depends on the impact and influence of Dr. King."