It’s very common, particularly in the United States to try and sanitize Dr. King. It’s unfortunate. Dr. King was a rare soul (in the tradition of Socrates and Gandhi) who risked it all for justice and truth. He didn’t employ empty rhetoric of hope only turn on heels in retreat as we have seen some “leaders” do in the past several years. Rather, he committed himself to a non-violent version of truth as a spiritually committed being.
Today, we yearn for the existence of men and women in the world that have the type of commitment and ethical allegiances exemplified in people like Dr. King. We ask ourselves where are the men and women like this today. We want to ascribe some supernatural power to them. We need not do so. Rather, we need only to ween ourselves off of public opinion, a lust for worldly gains and to overcome our fears. If Dr. King, and those like him, had any real ability it was to continue to act despite being afraid. Don’t you think he feared for the life of his wife and children? That he feared that the lives of his supporters would be tragically challenged? As people spat on him, threw rocks/bricks and cursed him he never lost his stride or his faith. He, along with so many other so-called African-Americans had vicious police dogs attack them, fire fighters and policemen turning water hoses on them and of course the Ku Klux Klan murdering and terrorizing them. Not to mention perpetual harassment and surveillance by the FBI and government.
In the face of all of this violence and horror…he kept walking. In African-American culture we have an old saying. It is “keep on keepin’ on.” Shorthand for saying so much in so few words. It’s an expression that simultaneously acknowledges the impossible situation one is in but the affirmation that there is no turning back from here. There is only one way…forward…whatever the cost. I encourage you to read online ‘Letter From A Birmingham Jail’ written by Dr. King while he was incarcerated. Pour a cup of coffee or tea, sit down and please read it. It will give you an insight into this prolific soul from his own hand. After reading it, I trust you will have a deeper insight into what inspired this man to walk a walk that most people today choose not too…