Put King on the $20 bill
The last time I’d sung, “We Shall Overcome” was shortly after April 4, 1968 – when The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
I sang “We Shall Overcome” again today at KVMR’s tribute to Dr. King at Miners Foundry. As they have for the last 23 years, the choir from Marysville’s African Methodist Episcopal Church blessed us with their presence and inspirational concert.
“We Shall Overcome” was the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement in the ’60s – and it brought back powerful and bittersweet memories.
But the words of another hymn, “Stand,” reminded me we don’t have to stand for the racial inequality that still exists. To the best of my recollection, the lyrics were, “What can you do when you’ve done everything you can do?” The refrain suggested we, “Stand.”
Well, we don’t have to “stand.” Because there is something profound and tangible we can do: Put Dr. King on the $20 bill.
This is a way not only to honor Dr. King, but also to put his legacy in the hands of virtually every American every time they pay cash with a $20 bill.
A year ago, in an op-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, Michael Shellenberger and Tommy MacDonald of the Breakthrough Institute proposed replacing Andrew Jackson with Martin Luther King Jr. on the $20 bill.
The reasons to replace “Old Hickory” are compelling:
President Jackson trafficked in slaves.
Jackson was elected because of his “heroism” in killing Native Americans.
Jackson is a disgrace to our nation.
The reasons to put Dr. King on the $20 bill are more than equally compelling:
Dr. King proved nonviolent revolution works – as evidenced by the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
He won the Nobel Peace prize.
He was martyred for exercising his rights and responsibilities as an American citizen.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. belongs on the $20 bill. He died defending the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.
If you agree, please sign the petition to Congress and President Bush at HYPERLINK “http://www.putkingonthe20.com/petition.php” http://www.putkingonthe20.com/petition.php. Better yet, call or write a letter to your elected representatives urging them to support the MLK $20.
If you want more information, please visit: http://www.putkingonthe20.com, http://www.thebreakthrough.org, and http://www.newsreview.com/issues/sacto/2004-07-22/guest.asp.
Putting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the $20 is an idea whose time has come.
Together, we will overcome.
Tom Durkin lives in Nevada City.
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