Receiving the Call
Beset by doubt about his path, young Martin Luther King, Jr. heard Jesus' voice.
01/16/2006 10:40:02 AM
Its important that not only should we not forget as adults and strive daily to move consistantly toward the dream but also to teach our children the dream and what it demands of us.
01/20/2005 10:42:15 AM
This is my favorite quote from MLK: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." If we could only put these words into practice every day, the world we live in could only improve. When my temper gets the better of me I try to remember his words..
01/19/2005 04:32:44 PM
You know, we all can carry on MLK's legacy. It is very simple. Love your fellow man, no matter the color of his skin. There is one thing that we all have in common no matter the color of our skin. Our hearts can be broken, we all bleed and we all need to be loved. Remember that when the bigots come out.
01/18/2005 06:18:24 PM
contuied from below: The couple on the ABC program a few weeks back that had conjoined twins was a perfect example of what I mean. There was an air of confident and comfortable closeness between them and an second-nature ease that you just usually don't see from people who feel like they have to be watching their backs all the time. Anybody else notice this?
01/18/2005 06:06:07 PM
One thing I have noticed; when I've met couples of mixed marriages, there usually is a kind of "cloud" of self-consciousness that's always there - even when you meet just one, or the other. As if there's something they aren't sure you are ready to handle, or can be trusted with. The exception to this is military couples. As nowhere else that I know of, the military has made people feel that what they can do is the measure of who they are, and absolutely nothing else matters. I admire that a lot.
01/18/2005 07:50:13 AM
The man told me I could come in but my friend could not. I knew this hurt my friend's feelings so I told him that if he couldn't come in then I wouldn't go either and we went a played somewhere else. I told my mom about the incident but it didn't seem to bother her as she and my father had been raised with racist attitudes too. Fotunately, within a year the "whites only" pool was made open to all, as was the "colored pool." With all of the great things that people of color had done for this country in our military it just amazed me that the military was still holding onto the racist attitudes. Thank God those days are fading.
01/18/2005 07:49:35 AM
I remember growing up on Air Force bases in the 60's. I remember MLK's speaches and the race riots on the news. I also remember going to one of the two base swimming pools as a kid. I had a friend who was Middle Eastern (I am not sure where his family was originally from) his skin was slightly darker than mine but I never noticed until we got to the swimming pool and there was a guy at the gate who told my friend that he couldn't swim here because he was colored and that this was the whites only pool. I argued that he wasn't black and was almost the same color as me (continued)
01/17/2005 09:27:00 PM
"As he prayed alone in the silent kitchen, King heard a voice saying, "Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo, I will be with you. Even until the end of the world." I'm really missing MLK. I was too young to remember him, but when you hear his words, you know that he is speaking truth. It's been a long time since I've heard a public figure speak truth that comes from the heart that is able to stir my soul. Listen to the politicians and it's a bunch of rhetoric. Listen to televangelists and it's a show. America needs another MLK to stir the masses and make us fight for justice and truth. That's what makes us proud to be American.
01/17/2005 12:38:32 PM
Having grown up in Michigan and moved to SF Bay Area 20 years ago I came to realize quickly how many of those good Midwest people were racist and some still are (this doesn’t preclude BA from the same ills), including family members. Growing up in that environment helps create thoughts and behaviors that become a part of who we are. I have learned that even though I think of myself as accepting, even embracing, of all people of all culture, deep down I have to fight against preconceived thoughts about others. IMO it will take a generation or two to really move past some of these ideas of race we struggle against. Also, I think the lessons of MLK go well beyond race.
01/16/2005 11:04:41 PM
That is exactly what bigotry means--a prejudice, a delusion, a dogma that drowns out reason and rationality.
01/16/2005 04:23:52 PM
ariessag - It amazes me that adults can watch children play together and not realize the misguided nature of their own bigotry.
01/15/2005 08:12:04 PM
My mom scrubbed my arms if I touched anybody! She is a clean freak-LOL! No seriously, I was raised in a racist (still is) state-Oklahoma, but one of the greatest joys of my life is seeing my 6-year-old son hug his little friend in Kindergarten, unaware of his friend's brown skin, only aware that love is to be shared among everyone. I can only pray that the love of Jesus will protect him as he grows up from this evil, uncaring world and all its forms of predudice and hate.
01/15/2005 08:10:50 PM
DavidDeLaCruz - Would that all were such "mere Christian(s)" as youself.
01/15/2005 05:06:23 PM
I was getting long in the previous, so here's the finale. I still have a dream. I am sorry that so many, including some of those who presume to speak in the name of Dr. King have forgotten that dream. That speech of his, that dream, is still, in my mind, one of the finest secular expressions of Christian thought since Francis of Assisi. The alternative is to keep feeding the dogs of war.
01/15/2005 04:59:15 PM
When I was about ten years old, my mother took me and my cousin to an amusement park in another state, where we ran to jump on a Ferris wheel. Kids were jammed into the buckets by the operator, and my cousin and I were put into a bucket with a black kid our age. We had a great time on that Ferris wheel, but when we got off, as we were walking away, my mother "scrubbed" my cousin's arm, since he'd been sitting in the middle. I looked back and saw the hurt on the face of the black kid. I was instantly ashamed. There were no Negro people living in my county, and I never had known any growing up. My mother's prejudice was not without effect, for even though I still loved her, I came to admire Martin Luther King and what he stood for, and have tried to speak out against bigotry and prejudice whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head. So, in a way, I have to thank my Mother for giving me a precious gift-- the gift of colorblindness.
01/15/2005 03:49:25 PM
What continues to just floor me is what a kind and giving person he was - never met a stranger, always had words of encourgement. The number of people I know that would tell you he was the finest man they ever met is staggering. In the end, I think it was these characteristics that helped compel him to see the inequity in his attitued toward blacks. My grandfather was Jewish and my father learned first hand what that meant in the South. How any Jew could ever be a racist just flew in the face of reason for me. Still does.
01/15/2005 03:30:46 PM
watsy - I'd have to stand my ground. He taught me that too.
01/15/2005 02:14:37 PM
Windbender, Thanks for the story. What is so wonderful is that you listened to your inner voice and broke the chain. In hindsight, do you think that you should have taken the advice of your Mother, or are you glad that you expressed your opinions to your father?
01/15/2005 12:25:58 PM
Sorry for the length.
01/15/2005 12:25:33 PM
As a child one summer I sat with a friend and we each put our hands in that of the other, as children will, and marveled at how strange our skin seemed in contrast. We had moved into a new neighborhood and there were "colored people" living in the new homes nearby. It was most curious, but neither of us saw weakness. That same summer my father remarked that, if I got any darker, Mrs. Wilson wouldn't let me go back to school (the Margaret Wilson School). Afraid of letting my father know that I didn't understand, I waited until I could ask my mother what that meant. She explained that the very small private school I attended, didn't accept the children of Negro families. This was the early 1950's and, in fact, segregation was the rule in all schools, but she saw no reason to paint a darker picture than was needed to answer my question.
01/15/2005 12:25:12 PM
My mother had grown up in Detroit and had only moved to the South after marrying my father, so she explained that the way my dad thought about Negroes was simply a bit of misinformation that he had been taught as a child by his parents and that he was now too convinced of it to believe differently. She said many people in the South thought this way because so many of them had been taught the same thing by their parents, who didn't have a lot of education. She went on to explain that I shouldn't try to correct him on this because, although he had a college education, he wouldn't understand and would think there was something wrong with me. "People used to think the Earth was flat," she explained, "but, in time, they'd come to know better."
01/15/2005 12:24:33 PM
So at the age of about eight, the underpinning of trust and confidence that I had accepted as a fact of life was knocked away as I became aware (in an atmosphere that included sit-ins at Woolworth's and fire hoses on Market Street) that the one person I loved, and would always love, more than anyone else in the world, was the kind of man who referred to other people as "niggers" and insisted that they, "know their place." He died at the age of eighty-four in the room where I sit typing this. I kissed him goodnight and the last thing I saw was his smile. He had changed considerably. He had gained some insight, become more moderate and less contentious. In the hospital, he had called me to his side more than once to introduce me to a black nurse, or a black orderly who he introduced to me with honor and admiration (though with a hint of having found a pearl in the sand), making a point of telling me, in front of them, how "special" they were.
01/15/2005 12:24:05 PM
My father's racism always cast a pall over our interaction (for I was never able to take my mother's advice). Aside from the harm that came to so many for so long in this "land of the free", it did an evil violence to our relationship, and what should have been so much more than it was, that I can hardly express. There is a reason that groups like gays and blacks and Jews, and now Muslims, seek to have "hate crimes" identified for what they are. It is not unimportant that the kinds of things people (like the men who blow up children in churches, or those who hunt doctors, or those who murder kids working for equal rights) do, are called what they are. Every time we buy into the notion that others are less worthy than ourselves because of what they are, this is the crime we commit.
01/15/2005 12:23:40 PM
Now this may all be kicked for being off-subject, and that's ok. I suspect it's more important to me to have written it than it will be to anyone who might read it. But sometimes, I wonder, if the voice that calls to us may not just be the "inner voice" we all hear - what I was taught is simply conscience - part of the soul given to us by G-d.
01/14/2005 11:34:26 PM
I love the last 2 paragraphs in this article. "I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never experienced Him before. All at once my fears began to go." I believe that MLK did experience the Divine while sitting in his kitchen. I think that it's impossible to hold onto fear after experiencing the Divine. That's why I don't fear the Lord. I love the Lord.