Written by Nsenga K. Burton
A colleague of mine remarked that today is the closest thing to a high holy day in the African Diaspora. The United States’ first African-American president, Barack Hussein Obama, is being inaugurated after a decided win at the polls in November. President Obama, the nation’s 44th president and vice-president Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (47th Vice-President), took their oaths on Sunday, January 20. They will be sworn into office today in the U.S. Capitol by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. and Associate Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor, at noon. The inauguration coincides with the celebration of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday in the United States. President Obama’s second inaugural ceremony will focus on the theme of “Faith in America’s Future” and will pay tribute to the nation’s “perseverance and unity.”
How wonderful is it that on the same day that the nation’s first African-American president is sworn into office for a second time, the world is also remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who dedicated his life to advancing the civil rights of all people, helping to make this inspirational day possible. Following a long and protracted battle in the United States, a national holiday was declared on November 2, 1986, honoring the man who helped many like President Obama get to the mountaintop although he didn’t live to see them get here.
As we make our way to Inaugural festivities or celebrate the legacy of Dr. King, The Burton Wire is bringing you the Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered on April 4, 1968, the day that Dr. King was assassinated. As we remember Dr. King’s life, we should also remember his death which was the ultimate price that Dr. King and many others paid so that many throughout the world could have “faith in America’s future.”
A special thanks to Hallmark Spirit Clips for permission to use this footage.
Click here for a timeline of events marking the life of Dr. King.