Monday, January 15, 2018

The Warmth of Their Own Suns Can Shine Because of Dr. King

[In commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we republish a post by the late Jim Hamilton from January 17, 2011, honoring Dr. King and his legacy.]

By Jim Hamilton, J.D., LL.M.

"I was taking a part of the South to transplant in alien soil. To see if I could respond to the warmth of other suns."

- Richard Wright

"This is the faith that I go back to the South with, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed."

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ``I Have a Dream’’ speech

In her prize-winning book, "The Warmth of Other Suns,’’ NY Times reporter Isabel Wilkerson details the Great Migration of six million Southern blacks from the segregated South to the cities of the North through the stories of an orange picker from Central Florida who moved to NYC and a poor woman from the Mississippi Delta who found a new life in Chicago. The greatness of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is that he engineered a Civil Rights revolution that allowed Southern blacks to stay under the warmth of their own suns. It is not given to many people in all of history to change a region’s Way of Life, but Dr. King did and, by doing so, allowed the New South to be born. Now people can find work in the VW plant in Tennessee and the Mercedes plant in Alabama and the new office buildings of Atlanta. Every time I see a gleaming new Siemens electronics facility or BMW engine plant as I drive the highways of the South, I silently thank Dr. King for making it all possible, because no international company would ever have come to a segregated South, and that is the God’s truth.