As hard as it may seem now, back in 1980 when I was a member of the Virginia General Assembly a bill was introduced to add Martin Luther King, Jr. to those honored on the third Monday of January each year. Virginia honored Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson on that day back then.

Feelings ran high and the vote would be close. Then-Senator L. Douglas Wilder, later Governor, and a friend of mine, asked me to support the bill. I told him I would, knowing that I would receive a great deal of pressure from others to oppose the bill.

I ended up getting hate mail and other letters of condemnation for my vote, but I never regretted my vote to add Dr. King.

Today it is hard for young people to understand what the problem was back then.

The bill was passed by only a two votes. I made a difference.

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