It seems like yesterday that everyone seemed to be singing that song from the title above, but it was 40 yrs ago that Martin Luther King was shot dead on that hotel balcony in Memphis, I was 19 yrs. old and developing deep political convictions due in no small part to people like him.
To take a stand against racism and 'Jim Crow' in America in those days was brave to the point of being foolhardy but that's what he did and inspired others to do likewise, to do it in Alabama and Mississippi was just about as risky as anything you could imagine, you can't learn to have that kind of courage, you are born with it, King and his followers had it.
Rosa Park's spirit and courage created the Alabama Bus Boycott and Dr. King lead it. America exploded, the 'Civil Rights Movement' became unstoppable, young Americans and young people world wide became radicalised and the 'Genie' has never been put back in the bottle.
That murder and the subsequent struggle of the black Americans and the brutality used to oppose them created a situation which could not be controlled.
The great Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky once said, "Armies cannot stand against an idea whose time has come" and so it proved in America.
" you better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone cause the times they are a changing" sang Dylan and he was right to.
At that time there were approx. 300 elected black politicians in the USA, today it's 10,000, it's progress but there is a long way to go, there are more black males in prison than there are in college and 25% of blacks officially live in poverty, lynching of black people is still a living memory for some.
M.L.K. was of course followed by people like Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, George & Jonathan Jackson ( The Soledad Brothers) Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael (The Black Panthers) The mighty Ali and many many more, including millions of courageous white Americans, and today we stand on the threshold of a black president.
Martin Luther King played his part and his memory continues to inspire. I remain confident that America will become a great country where M.L.K. could say, were he alive,
"free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we're free at last"