Friday, January 15, 2016

Reflections on Dr King in a Difficult Time

The Dr King I love was a restless tortured soul, a brilliant man from a privileged Black family whose identification with the poor and the victimized was truly global in scope. Marked for death from an early age- he was only 26 when he was tapped to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott-  he drew upon intellect, experience, and the prophetic traditions of his church to speak with unmatched eloquence on the issues of the day. Living with fear of assassination every day of his adult life, achingly aware of the tens of millions who looked to him for leadership, appalled by the cynicism and corruption of those who headed governments, he spoke from the heart on subjects many refused to touch and in the process gave courage to countless people. No person in modern history changed lives more with his speeches, both during his lifetime and after his death. He had an uncanny ability to describe how broad historical process enter the lives of individuals, confronting them with choices and decisions they never thought they had to make. In those situations, he warned us, the right choice is rarely the safe choice. I have tried to take this lesson to heart and share it with my students. Dr King remains an integral part of my teaching, and of my life, and will do so until I join him in what ever awaits us in Eternity.