50 Years On, the Future of a Movement


As the nation recognizes the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, we are poised at the threshold of a new national movement for racial justice that may or may not prove successful in fulfilling King’s ultimate vision.

As someone who lived in the South during the 1960s (my father was a reporter covering the civil rights movement when the KKK forced our family out of St. Augustine, Fla.) and who now teaches university students about racial issues, I am witnessing a revival of activism that has been dormant for a half century.

On April 4, 1968, King was gunned down on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tenn., while spearheading a strike by sanitation workers for better pay and safer conditions. The night before, he told the workers: “We’ve got to give ourselves to…

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