I often hear uneducated, poorly informed people saying that the civil war was over a long time ago, and that Black Americans should "get over" slavery, forget the past and go on with their lives.
The truth is, that everyone in America, every last one of us, regardless of race or skin color, is still today profoundly affected by the ravages of slavery, reconstruction, redemption, Jim Crow laws, KKK terror and the long standing, quasi-legal [b][url=http://www.courierpress.com/news/2011/jan/15/recalling-a-separate-america/]government sanctioned racial discrimination[/url][/b] against Black Americans.
While the civil war did, indeed, end over 100 years ago, up until the mid 1960's Black Americans were routinely and openly denied basic civil rights under state and local laws in many states including Indiana. And, the deck is still heavily stacked against them in many, many, many ways.
As a white American, I salute Black Americans for their patience and tolerance and their willingness to forgive.
I often shudder to think what such mistreatment would have done to me personally, if I had been forced to endure a fraction of the injury and insult that Black Americans have had to endure.
I would hope that I could have met it with the strength, resolve and good spirits that Black Americans have displayed, but I am not sure that I could have.
I know this, Martin Luther King and his teachings are a very great part of the reason that Black Americans have been able to endure and overcome unimaginable adversity without resorting to violent rebellion. All Americans, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, all of us, we ALL owe Martin Luther King a big debt of gratitude.
It is mostly because of Martin Luther King, that we enjoy the degree of racial harmony in America that we have today.
Happy Martin Luther King Day to all Americans, may we all become better and wiser as we go along.
Ron Nesler./.........Posting from New Harmony, Indiana, a town, among many others, that has openly enforced "sun down" ordinances and other hateful injuries against Black Americans during my own lifetime.