Remembering Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Posted 18 Jan 2010 by Walaa Idris

Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Today, America will celebrate Dr Martin Luther King Day. Dr King grew up in the American South at a time when black people did not have the same legal rights as white people. He knew this was wrong and he knew he had to do something about it. A clergyman he believed in nonviolence, King organized peaceful protests to fight injustice. He won support for his cause and became a great leader of the US civil rights movement.

Dr King’s beliefs allowed him to exclaim “We Shall Overcome” as the police herded Birmingham children into jail cells, to sing “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” as he marched towards armed troops in Selma, and to envisage a day when he could shout “Free at Last, Free at Last” with his followers in Memphis. His sense of justice gave him the courage to fight for the greatest civil rights gains in the twentieth century. He dared black Americans to hope and act. With his words and actions he opened the door to a once-forbidden world and empowered his people to walk through.

His words were lasting and astute; “I must confess, my friends, the road ahead will not be always smooth. There will still be rocky places of frustration and meandering points of bewilderment. There will still be inevitable setbacks her and there. There will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into fatigue of despair. Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted…… Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future.”

His famous words on the Washington peaceful marsh – “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” – will forever be remembered.

A human rights icons his memory always have people debating his possible position on various current political and social issues today. A gracious man he wanted people to remember him for how he fought peacefully for justice rather than his awards or where he was educated – “I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King Jr tried to love somebody. I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity. Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major. Say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”

In memory of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968 an icon of peaceful confrontation and a drum major for righteousness!

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