Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King Day - 1.15.29 to 4.4.68

My favorite show of all time is It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart.

What does that have to do with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day?

Well the entire premise of that old movie is that one person can make a huge difference in the world and impact the course of history simply by doing the right thing.

Today we celebrate more than a man, we celebrate an entire movement. Martin Luther King, Jr. was so many things. He was more than a Reverend or a Doctor, he was a brilliant, well-educated man who was also an eloquent writer and one of the only nonviolent activists I remember living in my lifetime. He made a huge impact on the world while preaching that people can make a difference without violence in the world. He was only 35 years-old when he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and donated his prize (more than $54,000) to the civil rights movement during a tumultuous time in the world.

"...I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." (excerpt of Letter from Birmingham Jail)

He lived in a volatile world. This was the era when Robert Kennedy was assassinated and John F. Kennedy. But, still he stood up for what he believed in.

He was in Memphis, Tennessee in support of striking garbage workers when he was assassinated, standing on the balcony of his hotel room.


Stephanie Faris said...

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Yeah, I agree...the most amazing thing any of us can do in our lifetime is make a difference in the lives of others, especially when it comes to opening up people's minds...

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

He was pretty fantastic--like any good leader he got people motivated.