Birmingham's New Legacy
How the work of Martin Luther King Jr. and the murder of Denise McNair led to our new secretary of State.
11:00 PM, Jan 30, 2005 • By SCOTT W. JOHNSON
The bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church had been the handiwork of former members of the Ku Klux Klan--brothers under the hood to former Ku Klux Klan Grand Kleagle and current Democratic United States Senator Robert Byrd. Byrd of course opposed Rice's confirmation as Secretary of State last week. Standing shoulder to shoulder with Byrd and 11 other Democratic senators in opposing Rice's confirmation was Democratic senator Mark Dayton who is, oddly enough, the occupant of Hubert Humphrey's seat in the Senate. History takes strange turns and politics makes strange bedfellows.
In ascending to the first among cabinet offices Rice becomes the first cabinet officer in the line of presidential succession. Rice's ascent represents fulfillment of a "promise" that Martin Luther King offered in the form of his "dream" in the summer of 1963. The promise traced its roots back to the Emancipation Proclamation and, Lincoln and King both insisted, to the Declaration of Independence. In 1864 Lincoln wrote in response to prominent Democrats who urged him to rescind the Emancipation Proclamation: "The promise, being made, must be kept." The fulfillment of the promise represented by Rice's ascent is one in which all Americans can rightfully take pride.
Scott Johnson is a contributor to the blog Power Line and a contributing writer to The Daily Standard.