Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
I usually post a photo of Dr. King and one of his eloquent quotes or passages from one of his sermons each year on this date. I’ve been troubled as of late, because the dream that Dr. King had for all of us was equality and equity and an achieved unity of America, as ONE nation; undivided. And yet in the past year, our nation has become more divided with less unity; fueled by a creeping elitism; and racial discord. Peaceful protests, and people exercising the Freedom of Speech and right to dissent have been met with hatred, and in some cases violence.
Dr. King felt this same way back on December 24th, 1967. His “I Have A Dream” speech still reverberated in his followers’ ears, but the nation was violently divided– and that dream seemed far in the distance.
4 young girls were killed when a bomb, set off by members of the Ku Klux Klan, exploded in a Birmingham, Alabama church after that speech. People were beaten and killed as they led a march from Selma Alabama to Montgomery. 3 civil rights workers were brutally murdered in Mississippi simply because they wanted to register black people to vote. Nothing short of atrocities were committed against people of color on a daily basis, simply because they wanted equity, equality and respect in a country that espoused freedom and opportunity for all.
In his Christmas Sermon on that day, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of his frustration and yet gave his parishioners hope. Hope- that on the day of peace and love for all people –his dream would still live. In closing, he reiterated positively that, “I still have a dream.”
The video below is audio only. Take the time to listen to that Christmas sermon given 50 years ago. Maybe it will instill in you, a new hope for the future.
Less than 4 months later, he was shot and killed on April 4, 1968.
Our remembrance and observance of this day lies in carrying that dream forward by resisting the hatred and prideful discrimination of our fellow man on this day and every day.
“I close today by saying I still have a dream, because, you know, you can’t give up in life. If you lose hope, somehow you lose that vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream.”
–Martin Luther King, December 24th, 1967
Background Photo–“The Welsh Window”; Stained Glass by John Petts