Martin Luther King, Jr. Day thread

President Barack Obama gave a great speech yesterday at the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy:


Marc Hansen’s latest column for the Des Moines Register profiles Robert A. Wright, who died last week. Wright

fought in World War II as a first lieutenant, helped integrate the dorms at the University of Iowa, played football for the Hawkeyes, worked as a Des Moines cop, graduated from Drake Law School, become head of the NAACP Iowa-Nebraska Conference and earned the nickname “Mr. Civil Rights.”

So much accomplished, but so much still to be done. Democratic Senate candidate Bob Krause is right to call attention to the shameful disparity in Iowa’s incarceration rates, although solving that problem seems more like a task for state officials than for a U.S. senator. UPDATE: Krause contacted me to point out that “that there is a federal issue in incarcerations. Our neighbors in Minnesota have the same problem at a rate approximate with ours. Disproportionate incarceration falls under the ‘equal protection’ clause of the Constitution.” Point taken.

Speaking of civil rights, it looks like the Obama administration may not push for repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell this year after all. Given likely Republican gains in Congress in 2010, I think prospects for repeal will be dead for a long time if it doesn’t happen soon.

Any comments about today’s holiday or any issues relating to equality are welcome in this thread.

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