While Dr. King's progressive dreaming of a world where racial and economic equality is commonplace may have been radical then, his most radical thinking -- and what would still get him in trouble with federal authorities to this day -- is his messaging on nonviolence.
The American public now knows, courtesy of Edward Snowden, the meaning of "consistent with U.S. laws and the protection of privacy and civil liberties," as defined by the NSA and President Barack Obama.
They marched and sang and swayed to the soaring sounds of the Freedom Singers and Odetta and Marian Anderson; they sat ten-deep at the Reflecting Pool, many dangling their feet in the water like pilgrims who once gathered at the Sea of Galilee.
We all have experienced that "tenuous thread of life," the unexpected death of a parent or a loved one. Fifty years later, that infant child who fought so hard to live and whose death brought his parents closer together, lies next to his mother and father in Arlington National Cemetery.
If we give up our rights to peaceably gather, protest and to question the motives of our elected officials under the cowardly fear of being labeled unpatriotic, then clearly, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, we deserve neither liberty nor safety.
We all risk living in the next Detroit. A true memorial for Trayvon Martin would be a federal full employment bill with guarantees that its benefits would reach into every city and town, every racial and ethnic group, and every family and household in the nation.
Corporate textbook writers seem to work from the same list of must-include events and individuals. Thus, all the new U.S. history textbooks on my shelf mention the Pentagon Papers. But none grapples with the actual import of the Pentagon Papers.
Kennedy dared to suggest that peace was complex, that it was not a mere matter of military strength and the power to dominate, and that "our enemy" was not subhuman. The American public was ready to hear this half a century ago. What happened?
This past weekend, The White House hosted Pixar's filmmakers for a Father's Day screening of Monster's University. The White House movie theater has been the cinema-in-chief to Presidents for the last 70 years. If those walls could talk.
The future of Texas will not be found in voices who prefer a Texas in which Hispanics are second-class citizens when they seek to vote and women are second class citizens when they seek to live their lives as they choose and seek a good job and a fair wage.