On April 4 Americans commemorated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the late civil rights leader, who was tragically killed by an assassin as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968. King was preparing to lead a march on behalf of the sanitation workers and had just delivered his speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” the night before. When King died, it was a sad day for the nation, but for Black Americans, the impact was devastating and it shook the very foundation of their lives all across the county.
Violence erupted but there was a void in their hearts and in the spirit of the movement King led. Today, his legacy remains a vital piece of the legislation his life and death are responsible for, including the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Law, and a federal holiday named in his honor. Time has passed yet King’s speeches remain a large part of his legacy that reminds us of his work as a civil rights icon. He inspired many, including President Barack Obama, who symbolically announced his candidacy for a second term on April 4, 2011. “It All Begins With Us!” is Obama’s theme, illustrated in a video, and emailed to Americans across the country announcing his intentions to run for a second term.
Dr. King was not through with his work when he died on April 4. President Obama told America on April 4, that he his not through, either. But, the baton is in the hands of the voters who must decide if President Obama is worthy to receive it again, or to pass it on. The race for 2012 has begun.