Hero of History - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Martin I’m referring to is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Of course the “them” would be the esteemed collection of memorials located on the National Mall in our nation’s capital Washington D.C.
This massive and revered plot of land is home to the symbolism that embodies the grandeur of our Great nation. It is a veritable hall of fame for those historic luminaries we note as being central to have established and secured the genesis of these United States of America.
It is quite an amazing tribute given to an individual who never held an elected national political office, commanded a great military power or was an actual founding father of our Constitution or Declaration of Independence.
The Power of Peace
Nevertheless as a man of peace and non-violent resistance he welded significant power, authority and influence. He demonstrated great leadership and courage which equaled any of those he now joins in enshrinement. It is a most noteworthy recognition bestowed at our nation’s most prominent piece of real estate which honors it’s heroes of history.
By dismantling walls of racial divide and tearing down cultures of fear and intolerance this man of vision and strength of character challenged America to live up to its lofty and self-imposed ideas represented in the famous quote found on our Declaration of Independence.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
These powerful words articulate a bold vision declaring the fundamental and undeniable rights of the individuals within its newly formed self-elected and governed people group. They would attempt to summarize the meaning of why and how it would realize a more perfect union.
A Transformational Question
The establishing of the MLK memorial reminds me of what I feel was the indelible impact that Dr. King had on the United States and even around the world. His life, struggle and yes, DREAM was based on the question asked by the greatest person who ever lived – Jesus Christ the Son of God.
“Will thou be made whole” (John 5:6)
As we remember the legacy of Dr. King, let us focus on of the primary emphasis of his non-violent philosophy. Throughout his celebrated and distinguished leadership role during the 1950’s and 1960’s civil rights movement he challenge the status quo of America with that same question, “will thou be made whole?”
The premise behind that question was to spark the will inside the man. Of course he wanted to be healed as he had been languishing in sickness and paralysis for 38 years.
However even in that downtrodden state he somehow needed permission to embrace his desire to change.
After the man’s encounter with the Lord he was never the same again. He stood up and began to live out the potential of the life he was meant to live.
Greatness Through Service
In much the same way, during the 50’s and 60’s America was being crippled and paralyzed under the heavy burden of discrimination against a struggling class of its people. At what seemed to be the darkest moment of fear, and confusion along came this humble yet powerful, brilliant yet practical, quiet spoken yet fierce orator, unassuming yet absolutely purposeful man of God.
Not greater than his Savior but following in His footsteps from the pulpit as a Baptist minister to the civil rights leader of non-violent marches of protest on the streets of Alabama.
“America will you be made whole?”
Despite hatred, ridicule and arrest Dr. King and other courage supporters of all races stood with solidarity and conviction of purpose. The chorus of those who knew, like him, that the nation could “stand to its feet” and live out the wondrous promises of its greatness began to grow throughout the country.
A Healing Begins
In a magnanimous inflection point of time on August 28, 1963 at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial Dr. Martin Luther King seemed to give the permission that we as a nation needed to begin our healing.
In front of over 250,000+ Americans and millions of others around the world on live television he delivered his electrifying address “I HAVE A DREAM.”
He inspired people of all walks of life; social-economic background and racial diversity to dedicate their lives to reflect the embodiment and commitment of the American Dream. He believed that we could live in peace and respect with regard to our fellow man.
His unrelenting message was that each individual pursue their highest and best manifestation of the God given talents and abilities they had been given. In this way they would ensure personal success and thereby greater success of for their community, country and the world.
A Befitting Tribute
Regardless of the color of a person’s skin or the substance of their social economic status Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message and legacy should always be remembered.
The 30 foot towering stone and granite image of his likeness now on the grounds of America’s National Mall stands as a gracious reminder to do so. If you ever have the occasion to visit I’m certain it will be a moving experience for you and your family :-)
- The Life of Dr Martin Luther King Jr
Martin Luther King Jr. was a twenty-six year old Baptist minister when he got involved with the civil rights movement in Montgomery, Alabama. He had been in town a little over a year with his fledgling family. As he spoke up in meetings it was...
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