This past Monday, Jan. 21, was a federal holiday to celebrate and honor the late African American Civil Rights leader, Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968).  Dr. King and others worked tirelessly to make the USA adopt measures/laws that promoted equal and fair treatment of its diverse populations.

I feel that the following quotes by Dr. King captured the essence of the Civil Rights movements:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

 “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” 

 Have equal rights been achieved for all Americans? No.

Barry Jenkins, director of the film “If Beale Street Could Talk,” is quoted in the article Journey to “Beale Street” by Michael Phillips (Red Eye, Jan. 10): “What Mr. Baldwin talked about in his time [reference to James Baldwin’s book “Beale Street”] is now a commentary on ours. … These issues of mass incarceration, manipulation of the judicial system, the disenfranchisement of young black men and people of color, these haven’t been addressed.  Not really.”

One of my most disappointing encounters was running into a senior African American woman who praised Trump and blamed anything he did wrong on the Jewish members of his administration.

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” (Dr. King)

 “Wait a minute, “I snarled, knowing she was a Christian, “Wasn’t Jesus a Jew?” 

“Yes,” she said, “And look what they did to him.”

“What?” I barked, “It was the Romans, not the Jews.” 

She said nothing more on the subject.

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” (Dr. King)

In recognition of America’s political quandary and the existence or lack of intelligence and compassion in our leaders, I cite the following quotations by Dr. King:

 “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.”

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”

 “Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.”

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...