Celebrating the dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Published 11:58 am Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Every year, the Montevallo community makes it a priority to celebrate the life of one of the United States’ greatest sons, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

King made it his life’s work to further the cause of equality for black men and women — and, indeed, in carrying out his life’s work he died for that cause.

During Montevallo’s program Jan. 21, longtime city resident Dr. Earl Cunningham said while progress has been made since Dr. King’s time, there’s still a ways to go.

“It’s been good, and it’s been great, but the fight is not over. The fight is still going. It may not be as brutal, but it’s still going,” he said.

The Rev. A.L. Jones shared his memories of being a black citizen in Shelby County decades ago, speaking of a time — not so long ago — when black citizens faced poll taxes and literacy tests when registering to vote, and when black workers weren’t trusted to run the registers at grocery stores.

Jones also offered a sober reminder that we must face the truth — there’s still work to do in the march toward true equality.

“All we wanted was fairness. That’s all we were asking for — fairness. Montevallo has come a long way, but still has a long way to go,” Jones said.

As time passes by, it is easier and easier to pay lip service to Dr. King’s immortal cause — to claim that we have accomplished the dream of which he spoke so passionately in his legendary “I have a dream” speech. But we haven’t.

We should never forget Dr. King’s words: “I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”’

Accomplishing that dream of equality is a destination that requires a long, arduous journey — but it’s one worth making, as those who attended the Montevallo program well know.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.