50 Years Since MLK Assassination, And In Many Ways, Not Much Progress In Race Relations In America

It has been 50 years since the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.

His death ended the most active and accomplished period of the civil rights movement, which occurred during the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson.

No one ever came forth with the charisma and following of Dr. King, to succeed him.

As we look back a half century, we can say that the African American community saw great advances in education and attainment of the middle class by a growing percentage of their population.

We also saw political gains by the African American community, including what many thought was the most triumphant moment of all–the election of the first African American President, Barack Obama.

But looking back now, one can say that the Obama election brought the truth out of the ugly woodwork–that racism is still very much alive and thriving, and not just in the South, but nationwide.

We see young and middle age African American boys and men, in particular, being victimized by police across the nation at alarming rates, and a large percentage who are not killed being subjected to unequal justice and long periods in prison.

The violence in the cities is over the top, and yet nothing has been done to overcome the danger of growing up in an environment where those who just wish to advance themselves out of poverty are often the victims of people of the same color.

The dream of Dr. King that everyone would be judged by the content of their character, rather than their skin color, has not been fulfilled, and we have a long road toward true racial equality in all areas of life, including economic advancement, which was badly damaged by the Great Recession, more for African Americans than for the working class whites, who are still appealed to by right wingers and Donald Trump to see African Americans as the enemy.