In 1859, Charles Dickens could very well have been writing about our country when he wrote about the French Revolution, in a Tale of Two Cities.
Mr. Dickens spoke of the dichotomy as he penned: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the Spring of hope and it was the Winter of despair..."
For all of its greatness as a country, there was a dark side to our greatness -- a side that systematically excluded a large percentage of our citizens from fully participating in the American dream of democracy. For some Americans, it was the season of light, while for others it was the winter of despair.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s crusade for freedom pricked the consciousness of a nation that refused to live up to its premise that all men are created equal. He challenged our nation's hypocrisy of unkept promises of providing an equal opportunity for all Americans.
Dr. King envisioned the ultimate freedom for all Americans. The freedom achieved in the struggle for justice, brotherhood and opportunity. He reminded us that the spirit of humanity longed to be free, where ones dreams and aspirations were not impeded by forces of discrimination.
Dr. King challenged us all to practice love.
On an occasion in Birmingham, Alabama, after he had been brutally beaten, he said: "If you think I came here to tell you to hate white people, you have the wrong man. Our goal is not to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and love. I have decided to stick with love; hate is too great a burden to bear. You must be willing to go on loving those who make you suffer."
When death was confronted as he journeyed to Memphis, Tenn., he acknowledge in a final triumph, that in life he had found something worth dying for, something worth life itself, in that he was willing to die so that others would enjoy the freedom to pursue the American dream of equal opportunity without regard of race, color, gender or nationality.
Dr. King's dream of a color blind society is a rich legacy and is worthy of our continued pursuits.