It is, perhaps, a melancholy fact of our times that public heroes, so revered during their lifetimes, are often quickly dismissed after their deaths. The processes of demythologizing and historical revisionism often expose feet of clay where once we though only virtue stood. Just the opposite is true of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. His personal courage and inspired words to the people of this nation and the world ring out today with even greater clarity and truth than they did more than twenty years ago; and
WHEREAS, Dr. King was deeply committed to democracy in America, but always reminded us that it was "a dream as yet unfulfilled." He dedicated his life to enlightening and motivating us all to strive to realize the dream. "The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of an anemic democracy. The price America must pay for the continued exploitation of the Negro and other minority groups is the price of its own destruction. If America is to remain a first-class nation she can no longer have second-class citizens. Now, more than ever before, is challenged to bring her noble dream into reality, and those who are working to implement the American dream are the true saviors of democracy"; and
WHEREAS, A man whose personal courage inspired a generation to exceed its grasp, Dr. King strongly believed that oppressed groups must strive to attain their own fulfillment regardless of the obstacles placed in their paths. "Members of minority groups must make it clear that they can use their resources even under adverse circumstances. We must make full and constructive use of the freedom we already possess. We must not use our oppression as an excuse for mediocrity. For history has proven that inner determination can often break through the outer shackles of circumstance"; and
WHEREAS, Though often a victim of man's inhumanity to man, Dr. King remained an optimist believing that the historic and moral decay that all too often drive men to violence would some day be replaced by faith and brotherhood. "With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood"; and
WHEREAS, Perhaps the essence of Dr. King's teachings can be distilled in this concise explanation of what constitutes a just society. "We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. That will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man"; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby celebrates the birthday of one of the true American giants of the Twentieth Century, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A man for the ages, a leader for all times, he lived a life and espoused a philosophy that will forever remind us that the struggle for human rights may never be finished, but that the struggle itself ennobles the warriors of justice.