Photo (cc) 2023 by Dan Kennedy

My daughter, Becky, and I had intended to visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis last August the day after a trip to Graceland. A massive thunderstorm knocked out power to many thousands of customers, though, and the museum was shut down. Still, you could walk around the outside of the Lorraine Motel where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. fell victim to an assassin’s bullet. It was and is a somber reminder of the racism and violence that shook our country 55 years ago, and that are with us still.

Today we mark Dr. King’s 95th birthday, and it’s hard to know what he would think if he were still with us. Ten years ago, Barack Obama was beginning his second term, and we smugly told ourselves that the worst was receding into history. Now it seems like we’re moving backwards, with Donald Trump, an authoritarian and a white nationalist, possibly on the verge of returning to power. King’s hope for a more just and equitable society remains just that — a hope. What can we do to turn that hope into reality?

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