I did a blog post last year suggesting some appropriate things to meditate on in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, and won’t repeat it (though a similar take is now up on the DLC site as a New Dem Dispatch). But I do want to share some words by Alan Wolfe in a 1998 New York Times book review of Taylor Branch’s second volume on King’s life and death, that sum up his accomplishments better than I ever could:
Our century’s identity has been to insure that the ideal of civic equality announced to the world in 1776 would become a reality. Just to help make that come about, King had to overcome the determined resistence of terrorists without conscience, politicians without backbone, rivals without foresight and an FBI director so malicious that he would stop at nothing to destroy a man who believed in justice….For all the tribulations his enemies confronted him with, it is not those who foolishly and vainly stood in his way whom we remember, but Martin Luther King, Jr., our century’s epic hero.
That’s exactly right.