MLK and the Garment of Destiny

MLK Say ! by Rudy Malmquist

MLK Say ! by Rudy Malmquist

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Letter from Birmingham, Alabama jail, April 16, 1963

Today is the day America remembers civil rights giant Dr. Martin Luther King, and for me these words engraved on the north wall of the MLK Memorial in DC encapsulate both his work and the still incomplete journey to justice for every American, and for every person.

Are the conditions for justice for all better today than when Dr. King wrote those words? Unquestionably.

Are they as good as they can be? Of course not. As Flint, Benton Harbor, and other communities have shown, the drinkability of your water in Michigan depends in large part of the color of your skin. Three times as many Black Michiganders live in poverty and they face 7 years less lifespan on average, clearly demonstrating that a lot of the work that Dr. King championed still needs to be done.

For sure check out the Detroit March to Freedom of June 23, 1963 on Michigan in Pictures if you haven’t already. It was at the time the largest civil rights demonstration in U.S. history, with 125,000 marching down Woodward Avenue culminating in a speech by Dr. King at Cobo Hall that is recognized as his first delivery of the “I have a Dream” speech.

Rudy took this photo of graffiti in downtown Grand Rapids way back in 2009. See his latest on Flickr & Instagram.

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