A major part of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy has been in creating a nation where Americans are not, "judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." So how are we doing?
When it comes to electoral politics, the last several years have given us reason to be optimistic.
Ronald Reagan (who signed into law Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a federal holiday) and George W. Bush (who has appointed more African-Americans to senior-level cabinet positions than any previous president) have worked to make the "Party of Lincoln" once again a welcome home for African-Americans.
This past election cycle, for example, the GOP fielded several top-tier African-American candidates (including Ken Blackwell in OH, Lynn Swann in PA, and Michael Steele in MD). On the Democrat side, Deval Patrick recently became the second elected Black Governor (when he was elected Governor of Massachusetts.) And Sen. Barack Obama, of course, continues to be talked about as a possible presidential candidate ...
Had the zeitgeist of 2006 been different, Republicans might today be celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. day with newly-elected African-American GOP Governors in key states like Pennsylvania and Ohio -- and a U.S. Senator in Maryland.
The fact that both major American political parties now boast serious African-American candidates vying for top political offices is a very good sign for all Americans.