Equality For All: How Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Message is Still Relevant Today

As the nation remembers the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and his fight for equality, local professors say his message is still relevant today.

“MLK was able to, I think, frame the Civil Rights issue in a way that mainstream America would listen,” says Dr. Cedric Taylor, professor of sociology at Central Michigan University.

Throughout the 50’s and 60’s Dr. King was an activist for racial equality, pushing for everyone to have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

“He believed in an America that could really live up to its own principals, and that’s what makes MLK so bold and the radical person that he is; challenging America to walk the talk,” says Taylor.

In 1964, Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent approach to radical change.

Dr. Gary Huey, a history professor at Ferris State University, says, “Not something that was recognized as his significance here in this nation, but it was a worldwide recognition of his significance of trying to gain equality for Americans in this county.”

Now, nearly 60 years after his assassination, Huey says Dr. King’s dream in equality for all is still relevant.

“And maybe that’s unfortunate that we’re still struggling with some of those issues,” says Huey.

Taylor says the resistance Dr. King faced is similar to the Black Lives Matter movement we see today.

“If MLK were alive today, I imagine his advice to activists and the Black Lives Matter Movement, is to keep doing what you’re doing, nonviolence has always been the way to go,” says Taylor.

Taylor says as well as the inequalities reflected in the COVID-19 pandemic:

“African Americans are much more likely to die from complications of COVID. We’re all in the same storm, but we’re in different boats, and I think that MLK would have recognized that.”

So as the nation honors the legacy of Dr. King, Taylor says it’s important to continue pursuing his dream:

“We can’t wait for the ideal time to come together and push for a better America, the time is now.”