MLK Memorial Symbol of Victory Over Defiant Racism

Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King says that the deep and abiding nature of Southern racism makes Martin Luther King Jr.'s achievements all the more remarkable.

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial (Getty)

Colbert I. King writes in his Washington Post opinion column that the memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. is testament to the strength of his will.

Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech did not spark an "aha" moment, causing the South to repudiate segregation in all its ugly forms. Neither did the march ignite an "Arab Spring" in America in which a majority of white Southerners launched revolutionary waves of strikes, demonstrations and rallies against the homegrown system of racial inequality festering in their midst.

Those two dispiriting realities make King's achievements all the more remarkable, and the memorial to be dedicated in his honor -- though its dedication is delayed by Hurricane Irene -- all the more deserving.

Abominable racial injustice engulfing America, especially in the South, was deep and abiding. It shadowed King throughout his 13-year ministry, up to the moment of his death. The real story of the civil rights movement is, to use King's words, its "strong, persistent and determined action" that led to victory over a resistance willing to go to any lengths to protect an unjust, hateful and morally wrong system of segregation.

Read Colbert I. King's entire column at the Washington Post.

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