Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. MLK
A Thursday night. I had just come in for dinner. The table was set. The food was coming out. My dad was just walking away from the TV news. Walter Cronkite was just winding down when he received word of King’s wounding. Flustered he read the news but then a commercial break and it was only later that an anonymous voice announced his death.
My mom was crying. My father launched into a tirade.
The 60’s were turbulent times and at 12 years old I was right in the middle of it.
Later that night Walter Cronkite began his new segment with the words, “Martin Luther King, an apostle of nonviolence in the civil rights movement.”
My mother would often seek the news of the civil rights movement, something she believed in heart, mind and soul. As a child, many of her years were spent on a sugar plantation in Louisiana. She would tell you that while slavery had been outlawed, it had “never” changed.
She often told me of life on that plantation. She would speak of the disparity between plantation owners and the people that worked there. They had separate quarters for the workers and while they were allowed in the house, they were never to be at the dinner table.
She was a young child when she “asked” for Bess to be seated with her. Bess was the same woman who fed, cleaned and cared for my mother all day long. My mom’s childish nature could not wrap her brain as to why she just knew it was not right and created a scene in the home. An action not entirely welcome by the family.
Over her life, she became a champion of the underdog and embraced the civil rights movement with a vengeance. She became a teacher.
One of her friends where she taught, was a young student named Julian Bond. She would talk of his involvement I civil rights. Julian was one of the 8 students that took the only class Dr. King taught on civil rights.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. MLK
In the 1960s the coverage was news, periodicals or magazines. Life magazine would reveal the tragedies that plagued the man of color. Jail, deaths and fires often were the results of the gatherings that would begin to follow MLK.
The world was changing rapidly. Too rapidly for some.
Martin Luther King was killed on April 4th, 1968 in the city of Memphis.
King’s last words were to musician Ben Branch, who was scheduled to perform that night at a planned event. King said, “Ben, make sure you play ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.”
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. MLK
Our country is once again straining in the middle of civil rights and injustice.
My daughter married a black man. I have watched the injustices of brought upon him for his color. For his race.
Today we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King. A man who had a dream. What was his dream?
I encourage you to read his speech given at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.
I have a dream that mirrors his. That this nation might remove its blinders and open its eyes to the injustice that prevails and say “no more”.