This editorial appeared in The Macon Telegraph. Much has been written and spoken about the significance of this historic presidential inauguration to African Americans. It has been rightfully, even righteously, portrayed as the realization of a dream long denied, a monumental step toward equality among the races that make up this multicultural republic, an enormous symbol of how far we have come as a nation.
Black Americans, and people of color all over the world, have reason to celebrate the day that Barack Obama took the oath, as president, to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States of America as the 44th individual — and the first black man — to assume that awesome mantel.
But the pride and joy are not theirs alone, nor should it be. It belongs also to legions of white Americans who have had a part in helping to bring us all to this moment in history.
Martin Luther King Jr., in his incredibly moving and prescient speech at the Lincoln Memorial 45 years ago, mentioned some of those who should share some pride — and yes, even some credit — in reaching this point, when he cited "many of our white brothers ... have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny ... their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom." As evidenced by other of his writings, Dr. King was referring not only to the marchers, demonstrators and Freedom Riders who joined their black brothers in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, but also the white businessmen, community leaders, churchmen and newspaper editors who help shape public opinion and acceptance toward doing the right thing for all Americans.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Macon Telegraph.