I, for one, am puzzled, perplexed, and, yes, irritated by the June 2 Spokesman-Review editorial, “City’s racial struggles are finally put in King’s name.” The clear inference is that Spokane and its citizens were racist and against civil rights until Martin Luther King Jr. came along and we, at last, named a street after him, just like so many other cities have done.
Is it not incongruous and, yes, even hypocritical that the editorial makes no mention whatever of the fact that years ago Spokane elected as mayor the late James Chase? Chase was an honest, well-respected businessman, and when duly elected was a popular, efficient mayor. Likewise, the editorial makes no mention of Roberta Greene, a dedicated Spokane city councilwoman who was, like James Chase, an African-American.
I am by no means belittling the work and life of Martin Luther King Jr., but I am disgusted when too often we jump onto his bandwagon and forget all about those who, with much less fanfare and recognition, also do a great deal to break down walls of prejudice and discrimination.
In my humble opinion, society shows much more progress in civil rights when it recognizes and respects the daily, where-the-rubber-meets-the-road lives of the lesser-knowns than it does when it gloats, “Look at us, we named a street after Martin Luther King Jr.!”