They came from all over America. Tens of thousands of them. They had been wronged. They wanted justice. Many of the states they lived in violated or ignored election laws. Courts had ignored or dismissed their law suits repeatedly. They wanted their votes to be counted. They wanted Congress to listen to them, and fix this great injustice.
Their leader was both loved and despised for his uncompromising views and outspokenness. As he began to speak, the potential that this crowd of 250,000 people could become violent worried many.
But as he spoke, the Dream Dr. Martin Luther King offered his followers, and the Faith he had that America would rectify the wrongs they had suffered, shone like a beacon in the night. They left the March on Washington rededicated to the civil rights movement with hope in their hearts; and America began to listen.
Perhaps no part of Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy was more important than his example of peaceful protest in the face of great injustice. It required principled and responsible leadership; it required Faith in our constitution; and it required Faith in our fellow Americans.
As we honor Dr. Martin Luther King today, let us all, from Washington State to Washington D.C, rededicate ourselves not just to the Dream of Dr. King, but to the means he used to achieve it. Because for Dr. King, the means of achieving justice was just as important as the end itself. Those of us who seek change should never forget that lesson, and always honor the man who best exemplified it.
Herb McMillan represented Annapolis in The Maryland House of Delegates for three terms and may be reached at [email protected]