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Readers React: The Trump presidency and continued U.S. militarism show Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream is still unfulfilled

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington.
(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

To the editor: Fifty-one years ago, I sat in Riverside Church in New York City and listened to Martin Luther King Jr. deliver one of the greatest and most important speeches in American history. (“Martin Luther King’s death tore America apart. We still can’t reckon with African American demands for justice,” Opinion, April 1)

Despite opposition from all sectors of society, including some of his allies, King made an urgent plea to end the war in Vietnam.

The apostle of nonviolence realized that there was an intimate connection between the violence in Southeast Asia and violence against people of color. King paid an enormous price for his moral courage, and given the continuing racism and the American military’s involvement in conflicts throughout the world, his desire for justice remains unfulfilled.

Wayne Johnson, Santa Monica

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To the editor: I was a 14-year-old white teenager on April 4, 1968, when King was assassinated. There were folks in my family as well as acquaintances who appeared indifferent to the tragedy in Memphis, Tenn. There were others that were certainly not going to lose any sleep over King’s death.

Many white people thought of King as a rabble-rouser or, worse, a political radical. To question the white power structure was considered fundamentally un-American.

Sadly, 50 years later, not much has changed. The empirical data can be studied from the 2016 presidential election. According to CNN, 57% of white voters cast their ballots for the bigoted Donald Trump, who spent the Obama presidency promoting the “birther” lie. All other racial groups voted for Hilary Clinton by wide margins.

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We have a long, long way to go on racial justice.

Bob Teigan, Santa Susana

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