News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Today's youths are not hearing Dr. King's words

The nation honored the memory of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday but there is evidence that the descendants of the people he led to freedom are not getting the message.

Sure, black Americans have full civil rights and many of them continue to climb the corporate ladder, but that progress has a soft underside.

Poverty, drugs, crime and gang violence snuff out lives of young people today just as the Ku Klux Klan did half a century ago. Today's crime, however, is often black on black. Young people of today don't relate to the civil rights leader's exhortations. His message that inspired earlier generations is lost on today's masses.

Johnnie Carr, 96, was president of the Montgomery Improvement Association and a leader in the bus boycott that Rosa Parks sparked when she refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white man.

A street gang beat his grandson to death in 2001.

"His (Dr. King's) message today would be to stop the killing, stop the robbing, stop the drugs," Ms. Carr said.

Dr. King had the U.S. Constitution on his side but that document only guarantees each of us an equal opportunity. Part of the problem is poverty, which the government can address through better education. But the nation is in bad need of another leader with oratory skills and vision that resonate with today's youths.

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