Rep. Johnson addresses MLK 50th Anniversary Commemoration in Stone Mountain
STONE MOUNTAIN, GA – On the 50th anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04) joined DeKalb County CEO Mike Thurmond and local leaders in a tribute to the slain Civil Rights giant:
Below are Rep. Johnson’s remarks:
“ 'I have a dream,' said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his 1963 speech at the March on Washington. Recalling the issuance by that great American, President Abraham Lincoln, of the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order ending slavery, issued on January 1, 1863, 104 years earlier, Dr. King affirmed that the Negro in America was still – 100 years later – still not free.
“In his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, Dr. King lamented racism, segregation, discrimination, police brutality, and rampant poverty amidst what he called ‘a vast ocean of material prosperity.’ The March on Washington was Dr. King’s dramatization to protest the shameful conditions under which black people in America lived. In the seven short months between the famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech and his death at the hand of an assassin’s bullet 50 years ago today, Dr. King sharpened his focus to include opposition to war and gratuitous violence.
“Today, a full 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, and a full 50 years after Dr. King’s life on this earth ended in violence, what must Dr. King see – looking at America through the heavenly lens of eternity and righteousness? My brothers and sisters, I submit to you that it is my belief that Dr. King would conclude, that together, we, as a diverse collection of immigrants of all colors and creeds, that we, the people of America, have made tremendous progress towards the time when all people can be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
“I believe Dr. King would be disappointed to see that reactionary forces have trafficked in racism, xenophobia, sexism and homophobia, to overtake the seat of power in America. I believe that Dr. King would recognize that the “vast ocean of material prosperity” has been condensed into the insatiably greedy hands of the super wealthy, marooning the vast majority to the remote island of the have-nots struggling to make ends meet.
“I believe that Dr. King would be alarmed by the prospect of a deranged individual – starting a nuclear war that could consume humanity. But I believe, brothers and sisters, that Dr. King would be proud that America had elected – not once but twice – its first African-American President, who served with distinction and without scandal during scandalous times.
“I believe Dr. King would be proud of America’s young people, who united as a rainbow of colors and creeds, march for Black Lives Matter, and as we have seen since the Parkland mass shooting, they March For Life itself. I am confident that Dr. King would still proclaim that although the arc of the moral universe is long, it still bends toward justice. And I am certain that Dr. King, with the fierce urgency of now, would boldly challenge us all to let freedom ring. Although Dr. King has passed on, his Dream is still alive. Dr. King’s Dream still lives in the hearts of those who believe in freedom and justice for all! Dr. King’s legacy of selfless action for the good of all mankind, beckons to each of us, a call to action: Let Freedom Ring, from Stone Mountain. Georgia.”