I got sidetracked this week and I wanted to write a coda to my MLK series; instead, I’ll close in brief. There’s so much material out there, so it will leave me plenty of room for a part 2. Or parts 3, 4, 5, etc. I hope someone learned something and or I slightly changed someone’s view on Dr King.
A freind and I talked about this last week. It’s Robert Kennedy announcing to an Indiana crowd that King had been shot. I’m a little frustrated because I couldn’t find the exact footage I wanted on YouTube, but little is lost in the video below. The thing that sticks out in my mind are those blood-curdling screams of horror when King’s death is announced.
We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization – black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.
For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.
But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond these rather difficult times.
My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.
One last thing. Most of you know U2 wrote “Pride (In the Name of Love)” about King – see John Legend’s take in this series’s first post – you may not know they ended the same album, The Unforgettable Fire, with the haunting “MLK”. Listen here.