Martin Luther King Day...
Martin Luther King National Holiday It’s almost forty-seven years since the assassination of Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968. At the time of his death Dr. King was thirty-nine. For his funeral Coretta King, who had heard her husband foretell his death, arranged to have a recording played of Martin Luther’s “Drum Major” sermon, given on February 4, 1968 at Ebenezer Baptist Church. In that sermon he requested that at his funeral it would only be said that he wanted to “feed the hungry,” “clothe the naked,” “be right on the war question,” and “love and serve humanity.”
1968 was a terrible year. There were riots in many American cities after King’s death. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated only a couple months later. The Democratic National Convention was marked by rioting outside and chaos inside the convention center in Chicago. Racism raised its ugly head at every turn. For this holiday I plan to read again some of King’s writings, probably beginning with Why We Can’t Wait, then his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and his “I Have a Dream” speech delivered on the Capitol Mall.
Why these things? Because I honestly think that few people understand the depth of Martin Luther King’s convictions and his profound commitment to a rich philosophy of nonviolence. King had a tremendous impact on U.S. politics. He received the Nobel Peace Prize. His dream is yet to be realized.
Given the current national mood and the tensions raised by recent killings of black men by police officers, we all need to realize that what King taught gives the rich basis for the current slogan: Black lives matter.
Photo Credit: Aaron Rutten