My early summer read has been “Kennedy and King: the president, the pastor, and the battle over civil rights.” It is a worthy book. I just read the section where JFK, after much reticence about making a public moral stand for civil rights, with southern governors and senators holding so much power, made his great civil rights speech. So I went to YouTube and watched it. It was a watershed moment in the turbulent 60s. JFK would be assassinated six months later; King five years later, and RFK a few months after King. But the movement went on. Under LBJ’s political skills (he a southerner), the nation’s greatest civil rights and voting rights acts became law. Five decades later we have seen much progress, including having our first African-American president. I am grateful that I lived long enough to see that happen, and to vote for him twice. But much remains yet to be done. Racism is still present everywhere in our land. White supremacists are currently resurgent, but they shall not prevail. Lincoln made clear that the Declaration of Independence was our nation’s moral founding document. Last week when the Declaration was read on NPR, as it is every Independence Day, some Americans thought it was an anti-Trump speech.
Soon I will finish this book and go on to other summer reading. But I will continue pondering the great struggle for civil rights for all Americans, a struggle which has yielded wonderful results, but is far from over.