Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Fair Housing

mlkToday, as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is hard for me to believe that, during my lifetime, there was a time when it was legal to refuse to rent or sell a house to someone because of their race or skin color, but it was.  However, the  Civil Rights Act of 1968, also referred to as the “Fair Housing Act of 1968”, which was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, just one week after Dr. King’s assassination, corrected this atrocity and made it illegal to refuse to rent or lease a home to someone based upon their race.

Peace Park Sign - otis woodard - dr martin luther kingI know we have a long way to go and there may never come the time that discrimination does not exist in one form or another, but I am thankful for Dr. King and that he was willing to sacrifice his life to make life better for others.  While I was just 7 years old when Dr. King was assassinated and only knew of him through historical accounts, that changed a few years ago when I met my good friend Otis Woodard.  I now feel like I have gotten to know Dr. King a little better through Otis.  You see, Otis was part of the civil rights movement and was a friend of Dr. King’s.  When Otis talks about Dr. King you can see how much he respected him and what an influence Dr. King has had on his life.  In fact, a park in north St Louis where Otis converted vacant lots it into a safe haven for homeless and poor people of the neighborhood pays tribute to Dr. King, being named “Peace Park” and bearing a quote from Dr. King, “At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”

While writing this article, I saw a tweet from another man I tremendous amount of respect for, Dr. Ben Carson, that says it all…  “As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. let us pay more attention to the content of one’s character than the color of one’s skin.” 

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