Martin Luther King, Jr.
During the speech, Martin spoke of breaking "the betrayal of my own silences"- what if the Pope would now so speak.
Tomorrow, Sunday, is the 42nd anniversary of the murder of Martin, then and always my idol. I was 19 and heard of his killing on a TV news report a couple of hours after he was shot. It is still the most breathtaking public moment of my life, seared into my brain. The next day, I demanded of the president of my college that he lower the flag to half-mast. He refused, with a small smirk. The people at the Chamber of Commerce did the same, but also laughed out loud. Martin was truly the conscience of this country, but much of it was too stupid, prejudiced and obstinate to listen. We could have grown, had we listened; instead, we shrank.