By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, January 18, was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is set aside to remember his legacy and the Civil Rights Movement much of which was played out in Alabama during the 1950s and 1960s.
Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell released a statement in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. Rep. Sewell wrote, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., proved that the hearts of many could be changed by the voice of one. Eloquently declaring that, ‘Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend,’ Dr. King laid the framework for the essential bridge toward equality. His dream of a collective nation, dedicated to peace and harmony, is the cornerstone of his teachings. We should arm ourselves with the love and compassion Dr. King carried daily.”
Rep. Sewell continued, “As a daughter of Selma, Alabama, I am proud to represent a district historically rooted in the fight for civil and voting rights. We cannot forget the many sacrifices that have been made to advance the cause of equality, and we must do our part to carry the torch that has been passed down to us. Dr. King’s timeless vison should continue to guide us as we push forward. We cannot become complacent, but should remain steadfast in our push to secure fair voting rights across the nation. On this Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday, let us recommit ourselves to the principles of equality and justice for which Dr. King died.”
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) said, “Today we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His vision and passion changed the course of our state and country.”
In October, Pope Francis in his address to Congress said, “Here too I think of the march which Martin Luther King led from Selma to Montgomery fifty years ago as part of the campaign to fulfill his “dream” of full civil and political rights for African Americans. That dream continues to inspire us all.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus wrote, “Dr. King fought to promote freedom and create unlimited opportunity for all Americans. He envisioned a nation of people who serve and who fight tirelessly for justice. And he shared his great vision for America in one of his speeches: “The time is always right to do right.” It’s important that we take today to honor him and remember his fight for our unlimited opportunity in a more equal society. Honor Dr. King today by taking part in this day of service — to continue his incredible legacy.”
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a pastor in Montgomery who helped organize the Montgomery bus boycott which was the spark which ignited the Civil Rights Movement which he went on to lead. He was jailed in Birmingham and led voting rights marchers in the Selma to Montgomery march after Alabama State Troopers and local police turned back an earlier effort. His “I have a Dream” speech in Washington D.C. defined the goals of the Civil Rights Movement. During his lifetime he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end segregation. He was assassinated in 1969.