We were more safe two plus years ago

I know firsthand the work of Martin Luther King Jr. I protested under his banner in a successful effort to integrate a downtown Greyhound Bus Terminal in Austin, Texas, in 1960. I vividly remember being told by another protester during our non-violent training that he was sure he could take any abuse that might happen to him, but he wasn’t sure he could remain non-violent if he saw me being abused. I am white. He was African American.

Of course, widespread slavery existed a hundred years before 1960. It was a time when another widely recognized public figure, Frederick Douglass, prominently advocated for democracy for all. He was in many ways a self-made man, escaped slave, self educated and a stirring speaker before and after the Civil War. He helped prepare the way for MLK and is relevant today. Consider the following Douglass wrote in 1867: “Our government may at some time be in the hands of a bad man. When in the hands of a good man it is all well enough. … We ought to have a government so shaped that even when in the hands of a bad man we shall be safe.” (WG1)

We were more safe two plus years ago.