In that speech in Montgomery, Dr. King provided a history lesson — that Jim Crow and segregation were created following Reconstruction, because “the Negro and white masses of the South threatened to unite and build a great society: a society of justice where none would prey upon the weakness of others; a society of plenty where greed and poverty would be done away; a society of brotherhood where every man would respect the dignity and worth of human personality.”
In 2020, Georgians united, again in a multiracial, multicultural coalition that elected a white man and a woman of Asian and African descent to the highest offices in the land and a Jewish man and a Black Baptist preacher to the U.S. Senate.
Georgia voters elected the most diverse General Assembly in our history, and chose Black Americans to lead county commissions, district attorney offices and sheriff’s offices in formerly “white flight” suburbs.
Again, we face a backlash against multiracial democracy.
The majority that controls the General Assembly rejected the multiracial vision that welcomed the world to Atlanta in 1996, built the world’s-busiest airport, and created one of the most popular hospitality and logistics centers in the United States.
We will follow Dr. King’s admonition, “Let us march on ballot boxes until brotherhood becomes more than a meaningless word in an opening prayer, but the order of the day on every legislative agenda.”
Andrea Young is executive director of the ACLU of Georgia.