Friday, March 14, 2014

"Letter from a Birmingham Jail' & "A More Perfect Union' (AFRO 298)

In Martin Luther King Jr. "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" and Barack Obama's "A More Perfect Union", both leaders discussed many of the same issues. The big theme in both was about race in the United States and becoming a much more unified nation despite our race,gender,religion, sexual orientation,etc differences. Both of them also touched on the fact that in order to solve the problems in this country, we must be unified and work together. One quote that really stood out to me in "Letter of a Birmingham Jail" was "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere...Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." I really thought that this was a very powerful statement and one that makes absolute sense. Barack Obama also stated something very similar in his "A More Perfect Union" speech stating the following "...I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together..."

Obviously race is still a very hot topic in the United States, not only just during Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s time but even now in the present-day even though we have an African-American in the presidency right now. The President himself stated in his "A More Perfect Union" speech that "But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now." The issue of race and race relations has really scarred the history of this nation and has been a constant reminder of the horrors people endured as a result of race relations in this country.

 In "Letter from Birmingham Jail" Martin Luther King Jr.even mentioned the Supreme Court's 1954 decision to end segregation in the public schools. This reminded me of the situation that occurred in Little Rock, AR at the high school with the Little Rock Nine where the students were spat at, yelled at and ridiculed by their white peers who did not want them entering the school. This high school just so happens to be one of our many stops on this Civil Rights Pilgrimage (and also one of my most anticipated visits during this trip!)
I will leave of with two really powerful statements from these two leaders. Barack Obama stated “For the African American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past.” Basically this means that in order for blacks to be able to  progressively move forward, one must embrace and be aware of their past without letting it hinder them. This quote ties into MLK’s quote here as well “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever.’ This basically meaning that you shouldn’t allow your oppression to oppress you. Two powerful statements from two powerful African American leaders.

No comments:

Post a Comment