Home » Dr. King’s Quest for Economic Justice Continues 

Dr. King’s Quest for Economic Justice Continues 

by The Urban News
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Charlene Crowell –

On January 16, the nation will mark its 37th national holiday honoring the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968).

Across the country, observances will chronicle how one man’s efforts pricked the moral conscience of the nation in a lifespan of only 39 years.

When he was just 26 and a new pastor at Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Dr. King was chosen by community leaders to lead the effort to boycott and desegregate the city’s buses following the arrest of Rosa Parks. In the end, the boycott brought economic devastation to Montgomery and a US Supreme Court ruling that the city’s segregation policies violated the Constitution’s 14th Amendment that guaranteed equal protection under the law.

The 2023 observance is also a time to recall that it took 32 years to establish the first national holiday to honor a Black person. Although the federal holiday was enacted in 1983, its first observance came three years later in 1986, and at the time only 17 states observed its commemoration. It wasn’t until 2000 that all 50 states observed the King holiday.

Dr. King’s lifelong quest for economic justice is consistent throughout his sermons, speeches, and other writings.

On March 14, 1968, weeks before his assassination, Dr. King gave a speech titled “The Other America.” In it, he describes how our nation actually reflected two vastly different experiences. In one, “millions of people have the milk of prosperity and the honey of equality flowing before them… In this America children grow up in the sunlight of opportunity,” noted Dr. King.

“But there is another America,” continued Dr. King. “This other America has a daily ugliness about it that transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair… Probably the most critical problem in the other America is the economic problem. There are so many other people in the other America who can never make ends meet because…

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