A man who walked the talk

 

 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Jan. 15,1929-April 4, 1968

 

Our nation honors today a man who reflected the values he lived by. His life represented all the things this country fought for, men and women died for, people marched, demonstrated and stood for. Our country knows well the violence, death, destruction, prejudice and bigotry that marred its history. This man took up the fight for civil rights and liberties so all can enjoy the rights and freedom that comes with walking the streets without fear or retaliation, prejudice, injury or death because of their color. Eating in a public restaurant at any table, attending the school or college of their choice without being bussed across town, riding in the front of the bus instead of walking to the back, serving in the military, all of the things this man hoped to realize in his lifetime, but did not. He marched not to the beat of a drum, but with chants and voices raised, and thousands followed.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a man who did not cower to those who mocked him, distrusted him, despised what he stood for and tried to change. He was a man of honor, of faith, one who loved God, and relied on Him in everything he did. He was a pastor, but he was also a rising political leader with a dream, and a vision. He stood before 250,000 thousand people who came to hear him deliver his, ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in Washington, D.C. He won the Nobel Peace Prize, yet gave it up for the cause of peace to further the work he started.

It was not just for the people of color that he stood up to protect. Preaching about the love for all men and women, tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness from a pulpit was his platform for the message he hoped to deliver, the dream he wished to share. Marching down the streets in Birmingham, Alabama was his way of demonstrating it with those of the same color and standing with those who had the same dream, that one day we all could get along, no matter our color, faith or lifestyle, and no matter our political differences and perspective.  But, Martin Luther King’s dream was shattered. Down through the years we’ve become more a nation of distrust, division and disruption. There are those who choose to act out their prejudices and disfavor with violence and acts of terror. Hate is demonstrated in many forms. Evil will find a way to rear its ugly head. Martin Luther King Jr. did not live to reach the finish line of his march. He was shot down, by the bullet of an assassin on April 4th, 1968 in Memphis, Tenn.

Can we work together, unite for the cause of peace, live together in harmony? We have nothing more to lose that we have not already lost. But, we have everything to gain, what we hope to achieve, yet have not realized, if we have a dream.

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

%d bloggers like this: