Friday, April 04, 2008

40 years gone by

It's hard to believe that it's already been 40 years since Martin Luther King was killed. Some of King's friends remember the day here.

I was just a kid in the spring of 1968, but I remember it well. We were living in a top floor apartment near Palmer Square, just a few miles from riots and fires on West Madison. We could see the smoke and sometimes the flames, even from ground level standing on the parkway in the middle of Kedzie. I was too young to fully comprehend it, but I was scared. I remember how the clouds of smoke billowed into the sky, and how nervous my parents were.

The devastation of that year is still visible on the west side, from the loss of buildings destroyed during the rioting and from later losses of buildings that became dilapidated because the neighborhood had never recovered since the rioting. A vibrant business district was destroyed. Parts of that area are just beginning to come back to life with new construction.

The images on this site make a profound statement about the extreme devastation of the riot zone. King's death and the rioting changed the lives of countless people.

Many of the goals that King sought still elude us. We have a long way to go before we have conquered the cultural mountain that is racism. King's dream should live on in our collective words and non-violent actions towards unity and equality. That is my dream.


The North Coast said...

The death of King was such a massive tragedy, for his message of non-violence was lost in the wave of violence that has engulfed this sad country, among all segments of the population, ever since.

Our remaining racial tensions might be less had he lived. I believe the world would have been just a slightly better place, had he lived.

And our racial issues are really the least of what plagues this country. This place is becoming truly tragic on all levels. The violence among all classes of people is sickening and unbelievable.

Fargo said...

One of the greatest ironies about King's death is that a man with a great message of non-violence died by violence and the reaction to his death was a larger and more destructive form of violence. I agree that the world would probably be better off if he had not been killed in 1968.