Editorial: Appreciate the power of good on MLK Day

A photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
National Archives and Records Administration
1983: The U.S. Senate votes 78-22 to approve a bill establishing a national holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. The legislation, already approved two months earlier in the House of Representatives by a 338-90 vote, would be signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on Nov. 2, 1983.

There is added poignancy this Rev. Martin Luther Jr., holiday given the loss last year of Toni Morrison who wrote of Dr. King as powerfully as any writer ever.

And it was Morrison who reflected on King’s civil rights legacy as “bigger than hope…it is survival and it is resistance and it is triumph.”

MLK Day is a day to appreciate goodness more powerful than violence and hate in the words of Morrison, through celebrations like this weekend’s community dinner, youth recognition day and Monday’s Youth Call to Service Day and the 35th annual Madison and Dane County King Holiday Observance at Overture Center.

We welcome a focus on triumph as an expectation more than a hope, and while we’re not there yet it is a fitting tribute to Rev. King that we all share that expectation and will not be satisfied until the triumph is realized.