Honoring Martin Luther King Jr’s Life and Legacy

From the pulpit to the podium to the streets, Dr. King devoted his life to the quest for this Beloved Community in our Nation.  

His activism and moral authority helped usher in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

 Today, we honor the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by continuing his unfinished work to redeem the soul of America.

President Joe Biden

a Presidential proclamation

As President of the United States, Joe Biden issued an official proclamation for Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday and encouraged all Americans to observe the day with appropriate civic, community, and service projects in honor of Dr. King. Here are excerpts from the 2023 proclamation.

The photos are from my visit to Washington DC in 2022. It was my first time to see the memorial to Dr. King and it is even more impressive than I had imagined from photos.

“darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

“OUT OF THE MOUNTAIN OF DESPAIR A STONE OF HOPE”

a Beloved Community

 “Dr. King imagined a different future for America — an America he called the “Beloved Community.”  Building the Beloved Community required a key shift in human understanding. 

It meant looking beyond external differences to see the union of all humankind. 

It also meant finding a way to deal with our grievances without animosity, in a way that recognized the interconnectedness of all humanity and allowed us to move forward together.”

Remembering King’s life

  “From the pulpit to the podium to the streets, Dr. King devoted his life to the quest for this Beloved Community in our Nation.  

His activism and moral authority helped usher in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

He gave a voice to the restless spirit of millions yearning for change.  He gave us a roadmap to unify, to heal, and to sustain the blessings of the Nation to all of its people.

 Dr. King called for greater fairness in our health care system, and my Administration is pushing to put quality, affordable health care within reach of all people — especially the most vulnerable and marginalized Americans.  By lowering costs and improving access, we can make health care a right and not just a privilege.

 Dr. King preached that “darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.”  In his memory, we strive to challenge violence and bigotry with grace and goodness.”

Fulfilling King’s Legacy

 “On this day of commemoration, service, and action, let us hold up a mirror to America and ask ourselves:  What kind of country do we want to be? 

Will we honor Dr. King’s legacy by rising together — buttressed by each other’s successes, enriched by each other’s differences, and made whole by each other’s compassion?  I believe we can.

 It will require constant care for our democracy, stubborn faith in this great experiment, and a commitment to stamping out discrimination in all forms.

 It will demand honest reflection about how far we have come and how far we have yet to go to be the best version of ourselves. 

But like Dr. King, I know that there is nothing beyond this Nation’s capacity and that we will fulfill the promise of America for all Americans — perfecting the Union we love and must protect.”

books by and about Dr. King

The following book suggestions lead to affiliate links which may pay a commission to this blog at no extra cost to you.

I am Martin Luther King, Jr. (Ordinary People Change the World) I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World, Special 75th Anniversary Edition (Martin Luther King, Jr., born January 15, 1929) I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World, Special 75th Anniversary Edition (Martin Luther King, Jr., born January 15, 1929)

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Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Reverend Dr. King led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968. His famous “I have a dream” speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. is remembered, read, and recited by people all over the country

King, Obama, and Healthcare

The term “Obamacare” was first used by opponents, then embraced by supporters, and eventually used by President Obama himself. Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 amendment, it represents the U.S. healthcare system’s most significant overhaul and expansion of coverage since  Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The  United States observes the third Monday of January as a federal holiday in honor and memory of the birthday of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (born January 15, 1929)

The Reverend Dr. King led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968.

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

First African-American President- Barack Obama

In 2008 Democratic candidate Barack Obama ran for President of the United States and won, becoming the 44th President  and the first African-American to win the office.

Former President Obama running with his dog
President Obama kept fit exercising with his dog- photo compliments Pixabay 

Candidate Obama  pledged to enact universal health care coverage for the country, a promise President Obama fulfilled with the support of a Democratic Congress. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often shortened to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or nicknamed ObamaCare, is a United States federal statute enacted by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010.

 

First United States Universal Healthcare Coverage -“Obamacare”

The term “Obamacare” was first used by opponents, then embraced by supporters, and eventually used by President Obama himself. Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 amendment, it represents the U.S. healthcare system’s most significant overhaul and expansion of coverage since  Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

 

 African-American Health- Progress Made, More Needed

The death rate for African Americans dropped 25% from 1999-2015, but they are still more likely to die at a young age than white Americans.

African Americans in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are more likely to live with or die from conditions that typically occur at older ages in whites, including

  • heart disease,
  • stroke, and
  • diabetes.

African Americans ages 35-64 are 50 percent more likely to have high blood pressure as whites.

African Americans ages 18 to 49 years are 2 times as likely to die from heart disease as whites.

Social and economic conditions, such as poverty, contribute to the gap in health differences between African Americans and whites.

The leading causes of death for African Americans have decreased from 1999-2015.
CDC Vitalsigns

Steps to Improving Health

At the community level, we need public health agencies, government, and community organizations working together to provide education, employment, transportation, food sources, and affordable housing for all citizens. With the support of these social determinants of health , citizens can prevent disease and early death by

Dr. Ben Carson- “Gifted Hands”

Ben Carson, M.D., renowned neurosurgeon, also ran for President in 2016 , leaving the campaign during the Republican primary.

President Trump appointed him to his Cabinet where he served as the 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

 

 This post was updated January 18, 2023. I have learned that the quote on health attributed to Dr. King was never in written form, but was in an unrecorded speech . Many people verify the gist of the statement, but with some changes; he may have said “inhuman” rather than “inhumane, for example. For a discussion of this controversy, see this article by Amanda Moore.

 

 

 

 

 

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