Post-MLK, Jr. Civil Rights Movement: An Opportunity Lost

Written by Jerry Curry on September 8, 2013

America cries out for the kind of leadership poet Josiah Gilbert Holland spoke of when he said, “God give us men. A time like this demands strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands … Tall leaders, sun crowned, who live above the fog in public duty and private thinking.” Instead, we have Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons, men who mean well but are incapable of dreaming Dr. King’s dream, men who lack vision, who lack revelation and the spirit of prophecy. About whom Dr. King said, “We can no longer afford to worship the God of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation.”

On Wednesday, August 28, 2013, President Obama gave a speech to the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial commemorating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s. “I Have a Dream” speech. He described King’s speech this way, “His words belong to the ages, possessing a power and prophecy unmatched in our times.” And of the Civil Rights demonstrators who accompanied Dr. King he said, “In the face of hatred they prayed for their tormentors. In the face of violence, they stood up and sat in with the moral force of nonviolence.”

That day President Obama had a wonderful opportunity to advance America’s cause of racial harmony, to comment on the new world order to which Dr. King had given birth and speak of the old order which had passed away. Dr. King’s speech did not dwell on racial injustice, but was a testimony to the promise of America’s future. He said “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.” It was a message of promise, hope, and the promise of a wonderful future.

Following in the footsteps of JFK, President Johnson was fully prepared to implement strong measures that would lead to full equality for black Americans, but the post-Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights leadership failed to offer such programs. Under them there was little food for the soul; and no new black Civil Rights leader stepped forward to take the movement’s flag from Dr. King’s staggering grasp and carry it forward into the sunlight of a brave new world. So when Dr. King was assassinated, not just a great black opportunity was lost, but a great American opportunity was lost.

Dr. King said, “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” Such men are comfortable and popular in black groups and communities, but they ignore the demands of the national house in which we all live. So when Dr. King was assassinated, political children took charge of what was left of the crusade, not adult statesmen, and they led the movement down the road of stumbling destruction.

No black conservatives spoke at this MLK commemoration, no black politicians, no surgeons like Dr. Ben Carson, no Supreme Court Justices like Clarence Thomas, no Congressmen like Allen West, no school choice advocates or charter school activists, and no black Senator. I’m told that at the last minute, when it was too late, a few black conservatives were invited to come.

You see, this gathering was not to bring Americans together, nor to be a time of healing and brotherly love, not to celebrate the racial progress made over the past 50 years; nor was it to honor Dr. King and the black leaders of the 1963 March on Washington. It was merely a stunt, a political confab designed to honor and puff up black and white Democrat party elites.

Their speeches brushed aside serious subjects such as self-reliance, honesty, sacrifice and hard work. Work gives us purpose, hard work brings success. Unfortunately no one extolled these virtues that day. God give us men, real men, well-schooled and well- behaved.

Today evil is praised throughout the land and the foundations of law and order have collapsed. Seventy-two percent of all black live births are out of wedlock and half of those remaining are aborted. These facts were omitted or glossed over at the commemoration. As a nation we need to refocus, to reset; we need a new vision and a new Martin Luther King Jr. We desperately need passionate new leaders, Democrat and Republican, leaders with fire in their bellies.

So, let freedom ring and though we walk in present darkness, in the distance we see a glimmer of the light of hope and deliverance signaling that one day the US will again rejoice in the goodness of its people and in the greatness of its leaders. Until then, let freedom ring!

Image: Source:; public domain

General Jerry Ralph Curry (D.Min.) is a decorated combat veteran, Army Aviator, Paratrooper and Ranger. He enlisted in the Army as a Private and retired a Major General. For nearly forty years he and his wife Charlene have served this country both in the military and while he was a Presidential political appointee.