Rev. Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks as she visits the National Civil Rights Museum as they prepare for the 50th anniversary of her father’s assassination on April 2, 2018, in Memphis, Tennessee.
This article is part of The Root Institute 2023 pre-event coverage.
Sixty years after the original March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, one could easily argue that the clock has begun to turn backward. The Supreme Court has successfully eroded decades of precedent protecting marginalized groups. And authoritarianism and white supremacy appear as deeply rooted as ever.
That’s why it’s the responsibility of each generation to pick up the mantle, she says. “As my mother said, we have to be committed to fighting in this freedom struggle from generation to generation,” said Dr. King. “Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.”
However, the necessity of vigilance doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate how far we’ve come, argues Dr. King. “The work that daddy and them did laid a strong foundation,” says King, “We didn’t have civil rights provisions and protections in 1963 when the March on Washington occurred... so we have to think about [the fact that] we have made tremendous progress on these grounds.”
In the rest of our multi-part conversation with Dr. King, we discuss reparations, a path forward, and the weight of being the child of the two most iconic civil rights leaders in our nation’s history. You can check out part two here.
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