Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK: The Reluctant Hero...

King's Calling Was Made By The Zeitgeist Of The Times

SleptOn Video:Dr. MLK Jr.: Struggling Not To Lose Him

Tha Artstorian Reports...

"Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."
~Dr. Martin Luther King

As the nation and the world reflect on the 80th Life Affirmation Day of arguably one of the greatest human beings to ever grace our planet, I find myself in Washington D.C. coming to grips with actually participating in and documenting history in the making. It could be said without exaggeration and in sound judgment that if it weren’t for the example and sacrifices of one Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama wouldn’t be on the verge of becoming our nation’s ‘first recognizably Black president-elect’ (more on this later). However, he is not just a Black President elect but he is the soon to be 44th President of the United States.

Barack Obama has built his life and legend on being ‘a servant of the people’. With the benchmark of MLK we have the embodiment of what it means to serve and love the people. It is not hard to see and “overstand” why Barack Obama holds MLK, the man and the legend, in such high regards.

With MLK it is interesting to note that although he did come from a long line of respected ministers that in my opinion it wasn’t he who sought his ultimate calling, it was forced upon him in many ways by others and the zeitgeist or spirit of the times.

For example, when MLK came to Montgomery to begin his ministry, he was 26 years old and wasn’t done with his dissertation form Boston University. He was the new kid on the block, newly wedded with his first baby Yolanda (who wasn’t even a month old) when the bus boycott began. I had the honor of listening to and speaking with Ms. Juanita Abernathy, the wife of the late Ralph Abernathy when she spoke at the National Civil Rights Museum for the Montgomery Bus Boycott exhibit entitled 381 Days. Ralph Abernathy was considered by MLK to be one of his closest associates and best friend. He himself was just 29 years old at the time. And the reason why they had the initial meeting at MLK’s church was because he was new and people didn’t yet have a handle on him. He tried to refuse but couldn’t because they, the leaders of Montgomery’s Black community, already decided to meet there without his consent. As a matter of fact it was the people of Montgomery that chose MLK as the leader and not the other way around. In other words the movement made the leader.

Also Coretta Scott King, whose family was a very progressive family in terms of human and civil rights from Marion, Alabama, played a crucial part in his development as a supreme advocate for social justice. She is the reason why there is a King Center in Atlanta and that there is a federal holiday in MLK’s honor.

MLK in my understanding was reluctant at first from accepting his “calling” and anybody with common sense would be. Many of the Black church leaders envied and despised him and even tried to use his very well known minister father to discourage the son during the Montgomery Bus Boycotts so that he could move back to Atlanta and join the ministry at Ebenezer Church (the famous “Letter From A Birmingham Jail” is really addressed to clergy and not to everyday folk). There were churches in Alabama where he was not allowed to preach from the pulpit: Black churches mind you. In 1967, MLK invited 100 plus ministers to Virginia to plan the ill fated Poor People’s Campaign for the next year: nobody showed up. He was depressed a lot (Rev. Jesse Jackson said that he would have to “preach himself out of depression” at times), frustrated, had trouble sleeping (sometimes staying up for days at a time and on occasion checking into the hospital for nervous exhaustion) and was a notorious chain smoker. He had all of these issues not only because of the constant death threats, but also for fear of what would happen to his family if the sole provider was killed. By the time he died at age 39 he had what was described as the heart of a 60 year old man.

“If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
~Dr. Martin Luther King

But with all that said it could never be discounted that Dr. King stared down death and conquered his fears to effectively give us all hope for a better tomorrow. Once he accepted his calling, MLK was resolute in seeing his mission through. In spite of all his doubts and fears, MLK never doubted that what he was doing was the morally just and right thing to do. The problem in our society is that those who stand for righteousness usually stand alone. If more of us metaphorically stood with MLK in solidarity on the balcony, there is a great chance that he would still be with us, “the living”. However, the seeds of hope and optimism that he planted in his lifetime have indeed taken root into the soil of the American consciousness. Once something is rooted it is hard to eliminate. Let us continue the work of this true spiritual prophet of peace and love so that we as a people may reap the sweet harvest of his and our collective purposeful labor and suffering.

KING SIZE COURAGE Made Up For Dr. King's Shortcomings...

*W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Specials*

Eye-Witness To The Crucifixion: The Last Days Of MLK...
Topic: If Memphis Could Talk Part 4~April 4th, 1968, Another Perspective...


See Also...
W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special: Yes He Did...So Now What??? Defining The Obama Presidency...

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special:O Yes We Did!!! The Barack Obama Tribute...

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special: Barack Obama & The Hip Hop Effect On American Politics:


Get The Barack Obama Holiday Inaugural Gift Package By R2C2H2 Tha Artivist!!!

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