August 28, 1963, a century after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Martin Luther King, Jr., declared, “One hundred years later, the Negro still is not free.” David W. Blight’s richly interpretive American Oracle contextualizes the sentimentalized celebration of the Civil War in the early 1960s within the tense realities of the civil rights era and the Cold War. Blight unravels the complexities of Civil War memory and meaning at a time when most white Americans considered restoration of the Union, not emancipation, as the war’s grand result. (John David Smith Charlotte Observer 2011-09-25)
The author cited May 17, 1962 when Martin Luther King, Jr. who then was the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) sent an open letter to President Kennedy for a National Rededication to the Principles of Emancipation Proclamation. He also asked that an Executive Order Prohibiting Segregation in the United States. For King he was appealing deep to history and memory.
As we celebrate “Independence Day” as we remember our forefathers on how they have fought for freedom, let us also remember what Civil Rights activist like Dr. King fought for, Inequality still exist and we have to be forever vigilant in the ideals of true freedom where every American has equal rights in this country.
The current and present events that prevail such as fight for equal pay, gender neutral work opportunities, freedom of speech, equal wealth and income distribution, are just some examples on a vast list of work still needed today. From the issues on the travel ban, immigration, the replacement of the Affordable Care Act are examples of a long list we as citizens should continuously monitor and take steps in continuing the fight of our forefathers and civil rights activist like Martin Luther King.
David Blight satisfactorily takes his readers back to the Civil War’s centennial celebration and beyond. On July 4th why not focus in the things essential to equality.