Today marks 50 years since the death of Rev. Martin Luther King.
The Prophet Dr. King
“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 so I’m happy tonight; I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man.”
He said it with passionate conviction. He seemed to fight the tears. Word was he had a cold and a fever. That must have been a factor. But you knew he meant those words. Those of us who remember when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, also remember the very prophetic part of his speech the night before at the Mason Temple, the world headquarters of the Church of God in Christ in Memphis, TN. He spoke of his own death. He knew.
He moved people with words that emerged like a gently rolling thunder. And on that evening when he arrived in Memphis, the weather was bad and he wasn’t feeling well. His plane from Atlanta had been delayed due to a bomb threat and he was exhausted. He asked one of his advisors, Ralph Abernathy to stand in for him. But when Abernathy went to the podium, it was clear that the audience wanted only Dr. King. Abernathy called King at the Lorraine Motel and King left his motel room to speak to his supporters. He received a standing ovation when he arrived..
The next day, as he stood on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel waiting for his ride to a meeting, Rev. King was shot by a single bullet fired by James Earl Ray. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Rev. Jesse Jackson, says that King’s last words were spoken just before he was shot. He spoke to Ben Branch, a musician who was scheduled to perform that night.
“Ben, make sure you play Take My Hand, Precious Lord in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.”
The tweet headline says “Data Show The Issue Still Persists.”
The issue never went away. It is extant. Economic injustice, racial injustice, religious intolerance. I was part of this timeline. There are shades of blended injustice ranging from overt oppression and control, to suppressed “dislike” to sympathetic ambivalence, and overt, ugly hatred. None is acceptable. The struggle continues.
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. 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. — the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
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