Friday, April 04, 2008

Forty Years Ago Today

On April 4,1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while he visited Memphis, Tennessee to lead a march for sanitation workers. On the evening before, in his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, he had the foresight to mention that he would not get to see the society that he so eloquently described in his "I Have a Dream" speech.

America's greatest citizen holds a special place in plezWorld's heart. Unfortunately, we continue to look at his speeches, marches, and accomplishments through the prism of the Jim Crow South from which he rose. We continue to make the mistake of seeing his Dream as one of white vs. Black; I don't see it that way. What made Martin Luther King, Jr. so great is that his vision transcended race and socioeconomic condition - he spoke with moral authority for all Americans.

plezWorld decries the fact that Dr. King's dream has been deferred for so long. This year, we finally have the opportunity with this presidential election cycle to look beyond race and gender to rate the merits of those who want to lead this country.

I only pray that America decides to live up to its creed.

Excerpts of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I've Been to the Mountaintop" Speech, delivered on April 3, 1968, the evening before his death:
And they were telling me, now it doesn't matter now. It really doesn't matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us, the pilot said over the public address system, "We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we've had the plane protected and guarded all night."

And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. 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. And 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.

No comments: