"Injustice, "he trumpeted, "anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."The haters, the entrenched, segregationists, the racial purists, the purveyors of inequitable laws and legal terrorism and abuse.
Transcript of "Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King,jr."
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr
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Table of Contents1. Americas newest national monument debuts, dedicated to The Reverend Doctor Martin LutherKing, Jr. What we must never forget about the man and his resounding message.2. Maya Angelou lashes out on paraphrase at the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial... and shesright.
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, JrAmericas newest national monument debuts, dedicated toThe Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. What we mustnever forget about the man and his resounding message.By Dr. Jeffrey LantAuthors program note. Only one song would do for this of all articles, the iconic anthem of theAmerican Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968), "We Shall Overcome."It was not so much a song as a declaration of purpose and profound resolve, one that did not merelystate and celebrate the destination... but constituted a collective pledge, renewed with each singing,that adherents were united in mind, body and purpose; for they would need all that, and more, asthey moved towards the inspiring goal of equality, where people who were divided by tradition, atlast forged unity from divisiveness."We Shall Overcome" is a protest song. The lyrics are derived from the refrain of a gospel song byCharles Albert Tindley. It was first published in 1947 in the Peoples Song Bulletin, a publication ofPeoples Songs, an organization of which Pete Seeger was the director. The song became associatedwith the Civil Rights Movement from 1959, when Guy Carawan launched it as the most famous,motivating, and ultimately elegiac song of the movement; their soaring battle hymn. It was what theoppressed people, their adherents and their resolute opponents heard when fire hoses were turned onthem, dogs ordered to snarl and bite, and truncheons beat down upon the pilgrims sore beset.There were many heroes in those days, but not yet a Hero who would rise above the others andbecome the very heartbeat of the movement, its public face and voice to the world.That man had not yet emerged, but his first important moment was about to take place... inBirmingham, Alabama, where from a prison cell he was about to instruct his followers, hisopponents, and a world oppressed by a panoply of civil rights abuses in what a man who believes injustice must do.Consider this man now, on the threshold of history. He is mortal, frail, fragile, with profound doubts,hesitations and an acute consciousness of his inadequacies. He, like so many Heroes hoped that hewould not have to be what he was in process of becoming; he hoped others would shoulder asubstantial part of the burden. But History is infallible. It saw, as the individual did not, that this mancould rise above his own demons and limitations... to become what the movement must have tosucceed: a moral compass, a higher purpose, a complete humanity, and the ability to be beatendown, bitten, spat on, bruised, and beaten again -- and yet love his tormenters, direct the anger of hispeople towards benign purpose, and always get up... showing that violence, any violence, could notstop him... and so would not stop the movement either. This was sublime! This was what the manwas on this planet to do... though he did not entirely know this yet.And so in April, 1963 he went to the most bigoted city in America, likely the most segregated, theleast hospitable to its black inhabitants, the city that taught the nation how to insult, condescend,intimidate, and, all too often, to kill people of color for being born and being in the wrong place atthe wrong time. It was the capital of every finely turned, exquisite form of segregation and haters ofevery kind looked first to Birmingham as the citadel of their embittered beliefs, the fortress forimmemorial hate that every black citizen knew only too well.And so Martin Luther King, Jr. went to Birmingham as he went to so many fateful destinations...because it was necessary, because it was the right thing to do, because the people needed succor andrelief and he had that to give and to spare.http://www.LizsWorldprofit.com Copyright Elizabeth English - 2013 4 of 10
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, JrThe Birmingham event was a planned non-violent protest conducted by the Alabama ChristianMovement for Human Rights and Kings Southern Christian Leadership Conference against racialsegregation by Birminghams city government and downtown retailers. He was among the firstarrested... the first taken harshly, insistently to his "suite" in Birmingham City Jail. It had to be ashock, jolting, demeaning, insulting, humiliating for this man who so loved life and lifes pleasures,more accustomed to the Word of God than the execrations of man.But he had something to say, something which he had clearly thought about for some time, becausehe wrote without hesitation its profound message of import to all the world and its downtrodden.King responds to eight white Alabama clergyman who opposed his visit to Birmingham.On April 12, 1963 eight local clergymen offered Dr. King the benefit of their erudition and desire todefuse the anxious situation and rescue the imperiled status quo. These leaders of the church didwhat so many such have done over the ages. Bereft of courage, with cloudy vision, and a desire tosafeguard their own positions and pulpits, they wrote Dr. King to leave... to let things take theircourse... to stop the violence and be patient... it would be, they were quite clear, so much better so.They didnt have to say it would be better for them...Dr. King was bruised in body and spirit as he arrived at the city jail. He must have wondered how hecame there and whether against so much hatred he could achieve his goal. He must have wondered,too, at how many people already relied upon him... and of the terrible sacrifices he might ask themto make, even unto death itself. At such a time, a man, any man, might so wonder and reflect.But then he read the sentiments of these local clergymen about his mission to Birmingham,criticizing it as "unwise and untimely". He read these words, and he knew at once what he must do...and so the words of high portent and unmistakable conviction came swiftly.He started his response in the way any disagreeing minister might have addressed a colleague,professionally, directly, pointedly. But this was not destined to be such a letter between Christianclergy of differing views. He had a higher purpose, and it was soon apparent. He meant to remind (ifthey knew), to teach (if they didnt) his fellow clerics a fundamental precept of their ministries. Heaimed to show them, once, for all, clearly, that justice was their business, the very heart of theirbusiness and he meant his message to be stern, unequivocal, a bell summoning all to recognition oftheir profound duties.First he reminded these clergymen of the South, with their regional blindness, that the issue was notSouthern, but American -- "Anyone who lives in the United States can never be considered anoutsider anywhere within its bounds". In short, what was happening in Birmingham and what madethe demonstration necessary was not merely a Birmingham problem or a Southern problem... it wasan American problem (not to mention by quick extension a universal problem of long sufferinghumanity.)And so he built his case for action now point by irrefutable point, making the considered advice ofthe local clergy seem like what it was, a self-serving argument keeping the blacks in their place,patient in the face of intimidation, outrage, and a white wrath ready to explode into legallysanctioned outrages against black citizens at any time.Thus did King find the voice of moral certainty, the voice which freed so many and which resulted intime in the sacrifice of his very life, taken by those who came to know him as the dreaded prophet ofblack deliverance, and so necessary to destroy."Injustice," he trumpeted, "anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." The haters, the entrenchedsegregationists, the racial purists, the purveyors of inequitable laws and legal terrorism and abuse,for all that they wrote volumes in support of their unsustainable opinions never uttered a phrase sohttp://www.LizsWorldprofit.com Copyright Elizabeth English - 2013 5 of 10
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jrpowerful as this... a phrase that showed just where right and a better future lay. He signed hissoon-to-be-world- famous "Letter from Birmingham City Jail", "Yours for the cause of Peace andBrotherhood" and had it smuggled out in a toothpaste tube to avoid the jails guards.Now this man has morphed into mythology with a grandiose civic temple for his observances. Thearchitect Chinese artist Lei Yixin has been criticized for his work. No matter. Any architects workand vision would have found censure in the eyes of the jealous others who were not selected. But thetruth is, this monument will soon be amongst the most popular, for all that the great monuments toJefferson, Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt are near at hand."Now," borrowing Edward Stantons words on Lincoln, King "belongs to the ages." Here his greatestchallenge will be in so inspiring those who follow in his footsteps, that his timeless message remainstimely and is not forgotten by all those so beholden to the man who is now enshrined amidst amongthe worthies of the Great Republic his lifes work so enhanced.http://www.LizsWorldprofit.com Copyright Elizabeth English - 2013 6 of 10
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, JrMaya Angelou lashes out on paraphrase at the new MartinLuther King, Jr. Memorial... and shes right.By Dr. Jeffrey LantAuthors program note. To understand the point of this article, the point of Maya Angelouscomplaint about paraphrasing the great words of one of historys most influential speakers on hisvery monument, you must love both language and precision. And above all you must love the truth.At age 83, Angelou is an honest woman. She is a truth-telling woman. And is a woman whounderstands and can wield with effect the right words in the right order. Most people will call her awriter, and a writer she is. But I prefer to call her a poet, for she is that, too.A poet is a person who strives to deliver maximum impact with minimum words... who labors withthe demons of truth, the difficulties of language and who works obsessively (for every poet isobsessive) with delivering just the right meaning... and this is difficult.To such a person, gifted with the scourge of outrage, the loutish behavior of the officials in charge ofthe new national memorial to the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. is deeply painful... andthoroughly outrageous. Not least because in true loutish fashion, they did not have a clue that theirseemingly innocent action would produce justifiable rage.But before we dig into that, I want you to hear Maya Angelou, poet, read from her acclaimed works,for few poets have won so much recognition as she... listening to the woman as she reads her wordswill make it clear why. Go to any search engine. Listen to the cadence, feel the way she caresses thelanguage, loving each word tenderly before she delivers it to an expectant world. She is in love withlanguage and the mighty power of language... and she is at war with the unenlightened who bykilling language, obliterate meaning and leave us the poorer.The background.On February 4, 1968, Martin Luther King gave a haunting sermon at Atlantas Ebenezer BaptistChurch. In it he discussed the eulogy he might and should be given in the event of his death. Deathand prophesy were in the air that day; tensions were high on both sides of the Civil Rights question,those who embraced it and its leader and those whose every word bespoke an adamantineopposition. The people, and not just those in the congregation, were unsettled, anxious, and neededthe balm of comfort...... and so the mahatma of the movement, moved to the pulpit none could grace as he, and he spoke,as he always spoke, from a heart, this time burdened with thoughts of eternity and of frail humanity.He wished to admonish, enlighten, and above all prepare them for a reckoning with a destiny he feltwas his -- and theirs.This is what he said..."If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was adrum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things willnot matter."And the people knew their revered leader was talking about his legacy and about what they must doto ensure his right and proper recognition and that his message of justice and of peace endure whenhe was not present.Two months later, this prophet of equality and righteousness, was gunned down ... and so enteredhttp://www.LizsWorldprofit.com Copyright Elizabeth English - 2013 7 of 10
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, JrHistory.His words and his monument.In due course the nation chose to honor the man and, above all else, to honor his message, in a greatcivic temple in the nations capital. On the soaring walls of this edifice designed for the ages, keypassages from his world-changing thoughts would be etched, thereby indicating to even the mostcasual of visitors what was important and what they must strive to recall and even cherish. Thewords of his sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church were selected... then mangled, insulted,diminished by the very folk charged with revering and protecting the great mans legacy. These byeviscerating his words became the killers of his message. Little men, they took it upon themselves torethink, rewrite, and paraphrase what was already perfect and needed no help from them to ring outresolutely for the ages.Paraphrase.The culprits of this drama, the monuments organizers, decided to paraphrase the original, searingwords from a man sensing the culmination of his life and work... and so rendered in stone the crucialwords from his last Atlanta sermon thus:"I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness."Thus they outraged the man, his message, his meaning. For what they chose to engrave in the stonewas profoundly different from Kings remarks and purpose. These people, thinking of the good theywere doing, instead were transgressing on matters high and mighty, matters they should have leftalone.Why did they do it?They could not fit the famous passage in the space provided by the architect... they did not wish toleave it out... and so they decided upon the expedient of paraphrase. In so doing they rewrote thepassage, gave it quotation marks so readers would wrongly assume the words were accurate, and sothey slaughtered what they were charged with preserving. To read the dictionary definition ofparaphrase is to see how greatly they erred:"a restatement of a text, passage, or work giving the meaning in another form."But these words, from this man, spoken at such a time and place needed tender care... never to bealtered or tampered with.Imagine if you will what would have happened if the organizers of the Lincoln Memorial, hard byDr. Kings, had paraphrased the Gettysburg Address, so..."87 years ago, our ancestors created a great nation of liberty where all men are created equal..Now were in a civil war to test whether this great nation with its great ideas can continue to exist..."Simply paraphrasing great Lincolns great words makes it instantly apparent what an outrageparaphrasing can be... and demonstrates why the diminished words and their diminished meaningmust instantly be removed. If space can be found for them, so much the better, but, if not, the rightthing must be to take them down at once.The organizers will of course complain about the extra work, the inconvenience, and especially thecost. They will also tell you that they ran their ludicrous and insulting plan to paraphrase before theU.S. Commission of Fine Arts, which was overseeing the design. They, Philistines all, had noproblem with the proposal, thereby indicating their unfitness for their work.http://www.LizsWorldprofit.com Copyright Elizabeth English - 2013 8 of 10
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, JrHere the honesty and rage of the poet enter. For Maya Angelou knows that "In the beginning was theWord and the Word was with God and the word was God." (John 1-1). This is known by every poet,and is surely Angelous abiding creed. It is also Our Saviours whose words "Noli me tangere" (John20-17), so disregarded by the monuments organizers, are so very apt and must constitute the lastword on the matter.http://www.LizsWorldprofit.com Copyright Elizabeth English - 2013 9 of 10
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, JrResourceAbout the Author Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a widerange of online services for small and-home based businesses. Dr. Jeffrey Lant is a historian andauthor of 18 best-selling business books.Republished with authors permission by Elizabeth English http://LizsWorldprofit.com.http://www.LizsWorldprofit.com Copyright Elizabeth English - 2013 10 of 10