The King is Dead!

The King is dead!

I was 7 years young when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Growing up in the ‘60s, what one historian called the Decisive Decade, there was death all around.

At 7, I didn’t understand the impact of King’s death, of his assassination – it is my first “political” memory. Around me, all the grown-ups were saying, “They killed another Black man!” I didn’t know who “they” were. I only knew that “they” had killed another Black man. Later I would learn that “they” had also killed a President, and his brother, and….

Later, I would write a poem, referring to these killings as “assassinations with political ramifications.” These killings would spill over into the ‘70s, and if Richard Nixon was right, for the wrong reasons, we were living in a “lawless society.”

I know as a society we have come a long way, but I also know that we have a long way to go, specifically to realize a just society.

Today, as we remember Dr. King, on this day, we should celebrate his life, what he stood for, and remember those words he wrote from the Birmingham Jail: “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” And then we need to do something.

The King is dead! Long live the King and the ideals he stood for


About William Eric Waters, aka Easy Waters

Award-winning poet, playwright and writer. Author of three books of poetry, "Black Shadows and Through the White Looking Glass: Remembrance of Things Past and Present"; "Sometimes Blue Knights Wear Black Hats"; "The Black Feminine Mystique," and a novel, "Streets of Rage." All four books are available on
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