Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy Martin Luther King Day

The time is always right to do what is right.
     -Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Its hard to believe how far we've come. Yes, there is still more work to be done for civil rights. In my lifetime things have changed dramatically in this county. In the summer of 1961 (the summer I, and Barack Obama were born), blacks were not allowed to swim at the Las Olas section of  Fort Lauderdale beach.  Yes, the beach that I enjoy and run on virtually every day in the winter. Hard to believe.
Police tell black Americans that they are forbidden to use this section of Ft lauderdale Beach, 1961.

How can you exclude people from enjoying a public beach? On July 4th, 1961 a group of young black men staged a "wade-in" on the beach at Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale. The protest was organized by civil rights activists,  Eula Johnson and Von Mizell. Police officers were called to enforce the segregation laws, and told the young men to leave the beach.

I often wondered how racial discrimination on Americans was justified.
The section of  Fort Lauderdale beach that blacks were prohibited from attending is mere feet away from  the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Is  this good sportsmanship?

Its fitting that we honor Dr King's legacy for non-violent peaceful change. We should also those brave Americans that conducted a "wade-in" into a free public beach.

Dr Kings message is timeless: Freedom. Freedom to vote, freedom from poverty, freedom from racism, and Jim Crow laws. Freedom to be together with the one the one you want.  And freedom to experience the hopes, and dreams that is America.

During the early 1960's it was illegal for people of different races to co-habitate in Florida. It was also illegal for blacks to marry whites in Florida.  Yes, Barack Obama's parents marriage would not be recognized in the state of Florida. And today, many  marriages are still not recognized in Florida and many other states.

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