The problem we all live with — by Norman Rockwell. Originally published in Look magazine.

 

Recently we celebrated the birthday of a HERO. Yes a hero, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who put his life on the line for a greater good. We collectively are still learning of his dream, and the meaning thereof.

We remember Martin as this enigmatic figure that was fairly young when the boycott of the bus system began, I think around 27. This was a lot for a young man to have to handle yet he fought injustice and continued to do so until his death. King embodied a mind-set, first that he knew who he was as a person, and secondly his belief in people. King truly believed in the quest for freedom and independence for which he eventually died. We all know about Martin and his dream but what I want to share with you is very simplistic, but poignant.

I know people who still complain about their common place or lot in life. They feel as if they deserve something for nothing.  They have forgotten about the hard-won rights that came between 1964 and 1965. Two major pieces of legislation (The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965) helped to shape America. It gave blacks more independence and the power to be a part of the solution. But you have to understand that the legislation was fought against, it enraged the country. Some continue to say it was unconstitutional or that it would have happened eventually, I’m speaking of America doing the right thing and sometimes you need a nudge for the “right thing” to occur. So much for American exceptionalism!

I’m reminded of the painting that I had a chance to see up close at the Norman Rockwell Exhibit thanks to Libergirl. The Saturday Evening Post only allowed Mr. Rockwell to depict blacks in the service industry but Rockwell changed in his artistic endeavors as he got older (and started to paint for Look Magazine). His paintings became more inclusive and with that one of his most famous works: The Problem We All Live With depicting a young Ruby Bridges attending first grade on the first day of court-ordered desegregation of New Orleans, Louisiana, public schools. I leave you with that Rockwell image and deep gratitude to Dr. King who gave the ultimate sacrifice, his life, for everyone in the struggle.

A Few Thoughts From Libergirl

I agree with my blog partner the NON-Conformist about Dr. King and his legacy. We all know he paid the price (literally) with his life but he also gave up a “normal life” with Coretta and their kids. Yet another sacrifice he made because of his deep devotion to the Civil Rights Movement and his fellow-man in general. Over the years I have watched just about every King documentary made and in one of those documentaries King was marching in Chicago moving toward the next phase of his advocacy; combating poverty. I will never forget the image of rocks being thrown at him and the other marchers but they kept on going. He later recounted the fear that he felt and he said those protestors were worse than any he had encountered in the Deep South. Would you have kept on marching? America is forever changed because this one man kept on marching. Thank YOU Dr. King!

Posted by the NON-Conformist and Libergirl