Chris Ballard; When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Died…
(ThyBlackMan.com) It was April 4th, 1968 and a coward’s shot rang from the distance. The target: a brave man.
It was a mild 90-degree’s on that day. If one searched, no breeze could be found from the east or the west nor the north or the south in Memphis, Tenn. That morning Dr. King awoke feeling at ease with himself and the message he proclaimed to the Grace Baptist congregation a night before.
“It really don’t matter with me now, I’ve been to the mountaintop…I am not fearing any man for mine eyes have seen the coming of the glory of the lord.” Such prolific words that seemed to prophesy his fate in the movement.
The bullet struck him on the right side of his face, shocking his stature as his body fell back taking the entirety of the blow. He lay there motionless, eyes peering up at the sky as the initial panic passed. One must wonder what went through his head at that very moment. In Taylor Branches famous biography, Parting The Waters, the account notes that his longtime friend and civil rights advocate Ralph Abernathy ran up to him right after the shot rang out and held him in his arms whispering “don’t be afraid Martin, don’t be afraid.” But was he? Could such a man whose faith was vested in an almighty God be afraid?
I would argue against. Martin Luther King Jr. along with many others during the Civil Rights Movement fought the good fight for justice without fear. For their cause and sacrifice was much too grave to be afraid. Fear was for cowards of their day and what is beautiful about that is the fact that they understood it. Everyone in the movement understood it. They understood what was at stake if little black boys and little black girls couldn’t walk in unison with one another. They understood that if housing and wage pay discrimination continued, the future of all folks of color would become dimmer and dimmer. They understood the need to fight for rights in a country that neglected them for factors outside of their own control. That, my friends, is the ultimate motivation.
We should follow in the footsteps of those before us. Not being afraid to stand up, march and speak out for what we believe in. Whether that is curing this Foreclosure crisis, Unemployment or dealing with our more systemic issues at the local level. Now is not the time to be fearful. And when that day comes, when we shall me our fate. Let our friends run up to us and console us. Reaffirming that our fight for justice was indeed a noble one, where fear is never, never present.
Dr. King’s death shook up our nation but the calm serenity in his message reassured our world. It would later be known that James Earl Ray took his life. It is a perplexing notion on how such cowards of history have made legends of men. Yet, if that is to be the case, we should always welcome ours. Because we should never live a life afraid to die only unless we have not done anything worth remembering. Dr. King and the various others of the movement understood and for that they will be remembered forever more. Let us all strive to be remembered.
Staff Writer; Chris Ballard
This brother can also be found helping others, yes the local community; Faith In Action Kern County.
Feel free to also connect through Facebook; C. Ballard.Share