Me and MLK
By Sister Larretta
Since I was old enough to understand the conditions of the world, especially growing up in the South, I have taken to heart the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. I like the way he used words to convey messages of faith, hope, and victory in the midst of distraught circumstances, debilitating encounters, and aspects of defeat. His spoken word reveals the passion with which he lived and marched in order to promote justice and rally freedom.
The ceremony scheduled for this Sunday in Washington, D. C. to dedicate the Martin Luther King National Memorial has been cancelled, but the monument is still open to the public. The memorial opened on August 22, after more than twenty years of planning and construction.
It is unfortunate that the ceremony had to be cancelled due to possible bad weather stemming from Hurricane Irene. Sunday will mark the 48th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech that Dr. King delivered in 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Dr. King was a preacher first, rooted in his love for God. He was praised by many and criticized by more. I shivered with a restored sense of jubilation for the spirit of America and a deep sense of pride when I viewed the virtual tour of the national monument.
The mission statement of the memorial expresses the motives that inspired Dr. King to seek courageously what needs to be secured for all of God’s people:
Dr. King championed a movement that draws fully from the deep well of America’s potential for freedom, opportunity, and justice. His vision of America is captured in his message of hope and possibility for a future anchored in dignity, sensitivity, and mutual respect; a message that challenges each of us to recognize that America’s true strength lies in its diversity of talents. The vision of a memorial in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. is one that captures the essence of his message, a message in which he so eloquently affirms the commanding tenants of the American Dream – Freedom, Democracy and Opportunity for All; a noble quest that gained him the Nobel Peace Prize and one that continues to influence people and societies throughout the world. Upon reflection, we are reminded that Dr. King’s lifelong dedication to the idea of achieving human dignity through global relationships of well being has served to instill a broader and deeper sense of duty within each of us— a duty to be both responsible citizens and conscientious stewards of freedom and democracy”
This is not the first memorial to an African-American in Washington, D.C., but Dr. King is the first African-American honored with a memorial on or near the National Mall and only the fourth non-President to be memorialized in such a way.
Visit the official site for a virtual tour of the monument.
The dream lives on and we will get to the Promised Land!