Black heritage in America is a long and storied history, one that has much sadness behind it. On the bright side, black Americans have come a long way in a few short generations to hold offices varying from alderman all the way to the President. The tenacity of a few have benefited many. No more Jim Crow laws, no more separate but equal, no more overt discrimination.
All it took was one tired and obstinate woman, Rosa Parks, to fire the shot that was heard around the world. Overnight the US took a good look at itself and did not like what it saw. Things began to change. Whites marched with blacks in the South, an unprecedented event. No longer did the black man or woman have to go to the back of the house to enter. They could now walk in the front door, proud. No longer did disenfranchisement hold sway, preventing blacks from being able to vote as they pleased.
There were those who tried civil discourse in the first half of the 20th Century. They should not be forgotten, even though their efforts are by and large unknown today. Early Civil Rights pioneers led the way to the civil discourse that brought about the large changes leading to equality.
Black Americans cannot afford to forget the lessons of the past. For they will be doomed to repeat it if they do. These rights were hard won in recent memory. To dismiss what Martin Luther King did for equality is to deny the entire Civil Rights movement. Draw upon the past to find strength for the future, and to solidify the hold for the next generation. Each generation finds it easier and easier to survive in America as racism fades, but they should never forget.