April 4, 1968...

April 4, 2018

“I was talking to him—telling him he needed a coat. And, he, sort of raised his head to kind of see—test the weather—and—POW.” – Andrew Young

 

The night of April 3rd, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. There was an eerie energy to this speech. I will never be able to understand why he chose the words he did in his “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” speech—the easy answer is to say that they were necessary.

 

“And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

 

These were the final words of his final speech.

 

50 years have gone by since that single fatal shot struck Dr. King at the Lorraine Motel. His last words were a promise to his people that they would get to the Promised Land, but in 2018 the Promised Land seems to be a mirage. In 2018, we have a movement that’s sole purpose is to assert that black lives matter. As a response to their movement, a less organized campaign came out to suppress that message and assert that blue lives matter. I use the word suppress on purpose, for it means to prevent the development, action, or expression of an idea.

 

Am I anti-police? No. Am I against the unequal treatment of our black population across this country? Absolutely. On the 50 year anniversary of his murder, I have read opinions that Dr. King would be against the Black Lives Matter movement—I think he would embrace it; polish its edges; and help move it closer to the Promised Land. In Dr. King’s book, Why We Can’t Wait, he wrote that “The posture of silent waiting was forced upon him psychologically because he was shackled physically”. This is why Dr. King titled this book as he did. The time to be silent is over.

 

The spirit of Dr. King is as alive now than when he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 telling us about his Dream. The chains of slavery have a different look today. The chains of slavery have evolved into different forms of injustice. Dr. King used his final speech to remind us of his belief of Moses’ people, and their deliverance from slavery. Together, as citizens, we can become modern-day emancipators in the gross inequities and injustices our fellow Americans continue to face. Together will always be better.

 

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© Harry Freeman 2018. Sponsored by Harry E. Freeman