When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched, preached and toiled during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, he knew the sordid history of this country -- and was deeply mired in its bigoted present -- and yet, he still imagined that things could be different. He saw the ugliness but believed in the beauty. What would Dr. King think about our country today? I think he still would have hope. And here's why.
The fact that Dr. King's work was evolving is seldom mentioned. At the end of his life Dr. King was fighting more for economic issues. At the end of his life, Dr. King was moving out in protest to the Vietnam war because he said he could not promote non-violence in this country and promote violence in other parts of the world.
As the nation celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington, many are discussing what Dr. King would say to the nation and world today and tell us to do. But his message to us today is as clear as it was fifty years ago if only we could hear, heed, and follow his warnings about what we need to do to make America America.