January 21, 2013 will be remembered as a day of celebration for the inauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama and the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The election of Barack Obama in 2008 was thought by many as a fluke that could never happen and certainly would take another one hundred years to happen again.
Had the election been an unspoken part of the dream of Dr. King in his famous dream speech? Was this a part of the Promised Land that he predicted we would see even though he would not get there with us?
Certainly there was something divine, special, and maybe unpredictable except by a prophet that this could happen. But there we were celebrating the re-election of the first Black President of the United States on the birthday of the American prophet, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The convergence of these two events played out in front of a skeptical world with fanfare, and the miracle was not lost in the celebrations.
Myrlie Evers, widow of slain Civil Rights leader, Medgar Evers, provided the Invocation for the inauguration celebration of President Obama's second term as President. Medgar Evers was slain in June 1963, fifty years ago in Jackson, Mississippi by whites who opposed his work as a Civil Rights activist and NAACP Secretary in Mississippi.
Myrlie's presence at this Inauguration on Dr. King's birthday seemed to pay homage to the Civil Rights Movement that made the possibility of electing a Black president even a remote possibility. Clearly the movement of the sixties had come full circle.
The message of the day, from both this President and the memory that the leader of the Civil Rights Movement made possible, was found in the Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights . . . among these, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
The fact of Obama's Presidency seemed to echo the words of the Battle Hymn of the Republic that his truth is marching on. The truth of Dr. King's life and dream was that love will win over hate. The election of a Black president in a country where once the only job for Blacks was slavery, seemingly, speaks to the truth that all men are created equal and, maybe, the partial fulfillment of King's Dream.
Both men will have January 21 as part of their legacy. Of further historical note, both men have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama's inauguration was 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and 50 years after the March on Washington.