Moonday’s Heroic Hunk in History: MLK, Jr

martin-luther-king-being-arrestedToday we celebrate an American Hero, a repeat from last year because he deserves it. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. He died from an assassin’s bullet in Memphis, TN in 1968. As a Baptist minister, social activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, he led the civil rights movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death. The mug shot of Martin Luther King, Jr was taken by the Montgomery County, Alabama Sheriff’s Department when Rev. King and other African-American men were arrested on February 21, 1956 for their leadership during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He was only 27 years old. Took some courage, especially when you’re scared.  Maybe real heroism is courage despite being afraid. Thought I would offer up an excerpt of King’s last sermon, delivered a couple of months before his assassination, the Drum Major sermon.

MLK PreachingYes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won’t have any money to leave behind. I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that’s all I want to say.
If I can help somebody as I pass along, If I can cheer somebody with a word or song, If I can show somebody he’s traveling wrong, Then my living will not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought, If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought, If I can spread the message as the master taught, Then my living will not be in vain.
Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right or your left side, not for any selfish reason. I want to be on your right or your left side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition. But I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that we can make of this old world a new world.
To read the full text of the speech: http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/documentsentry/doc_the_drum_major_instinct/

Next Week, An American Anti-hero    Rita Bay

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