Commentary: What would Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. say about today’s America?

Commentary: What would Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. say about today’s  America?
January 26
15:41 2018

By James B. Ewers Jr.

We have celebrated and commemorated the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday 2018. Proclamations have been read, parades have been held and worship services have been conducted in his honor.

For many years now, America has recognized the greatness of this man. He inspired a movement based upon non-violence to make America understand it was treating many of its citizens poorly and unfairly.

People, not race, was his focus. We know now what Dr. King knew then that regardless of race, gender and money status, we must respect and honor each other.

Dr. King is famously referred to as “The Drum Major for Justice.” His “I have a Dream Speech” on Aug. 28, 1963 in my opinion is one of the greatest speeches of all time. It was a clarion call for us to do better by one another.

He said, “In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.”

Now, if Dr. King was here what would he say about America? That is the question. America still holds its place as the greatest country in the world. At times, I believe we almost take our many freedoms for granted. We come and go as we please not encumbered by the tangled webs of people and government.

Our technology is such that if we have a sophisticated phone, we can talk to anyone, see anyone and even manage our finances on it. More people than ever before are gaining opportunities and advancement because the doors of education have been opened for all of us.

Our country has become increasingly diverse. We have friends of all ethnicities and we welcome them into our homes.

While we as a nation have come a long way, we can’t stop now. We as Americans still have bumpy roads and detours ahead of us. These long and winding roads are full of potholes and unfinished work.

We have the pothole of how we treat black men. Black men like me must be on the lookout every day. When we awaken and go into the public square, our return to our homes isn’t certain. Circumstances can occur at a moment’s notice that can alter our lives forever. Black-on-black crime and police-involved shootings contribute heavily to our demise. We as black men cannot continue to kill each other and then blame it on the “system.” Racism isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so we must learn to live with it and navigate around it.

We have the pothole of how our society has treated women over time. This topic has finally gotten the attention it deserves. Men in power have used women as pawns and as sexual objects. The time for that to stop is now. Guilty men are being called out for their egregious acts.

Our moral compass is being tested today. In too many instances wrong is at the top and right is swimming around at the bottom. Dr. King said, “In this juncture of our nation’s history, there is an urgent need for dedicated and courageous leadership.”

I agree.

James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator. He can be reached at


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