Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Day for America Rev. King Helped the Nation Regain Its Bearings

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Day for America Rev. King Helped the Nation Regain Its Bearings

Article excerpt

If race is America's original sin, then it needed a John the Baptist figure to bless it away. That unlikely hero was Martin Luther King Jr., the conscience of America whose role in germinating historic change on seemingly barren ground the nation celebrates today.

There was a time, remembered still by older Americans, when today's holiday would have seemed impossible. The races were segregated in varying degrees of strictness or subtlety. Water fountains and public restrooms came with signs lest people forget their place. Other facilities had invisible fences made of prejudice spun into rigid social custom. Children sat with their own in school, men and women worked with those of similar skin tones in closed professions.

America was a land where some had come to be free and others had come enslaved long ago but were still denied their freedom. It was a land where there was an aching gap between the soaring rhetoric of liberty and the bitter reality of its denial. …

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