NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The inauguration ceremony on Monday coincides with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and this year also marks 150 years since President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation.
As WCBS 880’s Jane Tillman Irving reported, for African-Americans in particular, it is all a great confluence of significant events.
“No one, of course, could have predicted even 10 years ago that it would coincide with the second inauguration of the nation’s first African-American president,” said Dr. Khalli Gibran Muhammand, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library.
Dr. King wrote in 1961 that the second Emancipation Proclamation “would free all negroes from second-class citizenship.”
President John F. Kennedy never issued that executive order upholding the constitutional mandate of equality before the law. But Muhammad emphasized that Obama’s election as president was a direct result of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts of 1964 and 1965.
To Muhammad, the Emancipation Proclamation symbolized freedom, and Dr. King’s life work represented access to the promise of America. But for many Americans, black and otherwise, Muhammad said true equity in this society remains elusive.
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