Friday, April 4, 2008

A Sad Day in History

Today, April 4th, marks a sad day in the history of our country. This is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was shot while staying at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. The motel has since been transformed into the National Civil Rights Museum.

King was in Memphis in support of the garbage workers strike. After years of working for desegregation in the south, he had changed the focus of the movement. It did no good to have the ability to go into a restaurant, if the means were not there to buy anything in the restaurant. The Memphis garbage workers were very poor, and really had no way to change their current situation. The workers were not allowed to go inside during breaks. One rainy day a worker was taking his break in the back of one of the trucks, when it engaged and he was crushed to death. This outraged the workers and inspired them begin a strike. Dr. King was asked to come and help the workers. It was in Memphis that he gave his last speech. Here is an excerpt:

"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop.
And I don't mind.
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!
And so I'm happy, tonight.
I'm not worried about anything.
I'm not fearing any man!
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!"
Many believe that Dr. King preached the fear of death out of himself that night. Take some time and really read those words. Powerful! He was killed the next day.
Dr. King is a great American hero, and today we need to make sure we try to understand all that he has meant to our society.

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