Today we commemorate the life and legacy of America’s civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The third Monday of January has been designated as “Martin Luther King Jr. Day.” Fittingly, this federal holiday is observed as closely as possible to Dr. King’s birthday on January 15 .
As we all know, Dr. King suffered a mortal gunshot wound inflicted by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. He died that evening.
Only the day before, King, a recipient of many death threats, had delivered his famous “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop” speech. To many it seemed to be a foreshadowing of his death.
Dr. King’s assassination was front page news in papers and televised media around the world. The Middletown (Ohio) Journal was no exception.
However, Journal editors went farther than just reporting the murder of Dr. King. In an editorial titled “All of Us Share Guilt In Slaying of Dr. King,” they wrote:
“The nation must share the guilt for the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Anyone who harbors race hatred in his heart had a finger on the trigger that sent the fatal bullet into the great Negro leader...The man behind the assassin’s gun is only a symbol of the sickness from which this nation has been slowly, too slowly, recovering…
“It is contrary to the principles of this nation to make second-class citizens of people because of race, color, or creed. It is contrary to the teachings of Christianity and it is contrary to the consciences of men of good will…
“[Dr. King’s] death is a grievous loss to this nation and to the world. He must not have died in vain.”