"Early morning, April 4, a shot rings out, in the Memphis sky, free at last, they took your life, but they could not take your Pride, in the name of love, what more in the name of love?"
I will make this short, because if I don't, it will turn into a very long, detailed, passionate essay on the history of race, commerce, rights and justice in America and MLK's place in that narrative as explained through his works and life. I could also write another essay on his understanding and use of the best tenets of Eastern and Christian spiritualism and how they compare to what passes for "religion" in America today.
Instead, I will say this. MLK has had a profound effect on my thinking, my beliefs and my understanding of justice, human worth, dignity,courage and equality. He embodied and acted upon the values that most people only pay lip service to.
He was a great orator, a great thinker and brave beyond imagination. Dozens of times he stood face to face with Southern thugs who beat him, stoned him, jailed him, firebombed him and threatened to kill him, which they eventually did. If you could take a moment to google some of his speeches and read what this man said, you will have one of two reactions I think. Your heart will soar, your hair will stand on end and you will feel good about yourself and the hope of the world.
Or, you might be one of those provincial, hateful, pseudo-christian bigots who will be reminded again that because of your fear, ignorance and self-loathing self-loathing you will always hate this man who reminded us that there are still people who believe in the nobility, brotherhood, equality and promise of the human spirit.
That no matter how soul crushing and unjust a cursory reading of the history of civilization is, that in reading between the lines and focusing on the individuals of worth and honor, the best part of human nature has always somehow shined through and made progress and change for the better possible.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of those men. May his soul rest in peace and his words live forever.