In looking back on some past editorials in this space, it occurs to us that one shared during Martin Luther King Day would be poignant to again share today. It seems wholly appropriate as the nation — the world, actually — shares in the despair of racial injustice and disparity.
Martin Luther King Jr. is for many the face of the civil rights movement. His work to bring about peaceful change to ensure the beloved words written in our Declaration of Independence — that “all men are created equal” — would apply to Black Americans as well as white. And it was pivotal in America’s history.
Yes, it was a painful era in the country, a time when the civil rights movement was met with great resistance by far too many who wanted to maintain a society in which Black people were relegated to the backs of buses, had separate schools, hospitals public bathrooms and seating in theaters, and could not eat at the same lunch counters as white people.
It took diligence on the part of King, his followers and others who recognized segregation’s injustice. And, to a large extent, it even took the assassination of King himself on April 4, 1968, to change the path America was on. King’s death on the balcony of a Memphis hotel sparked violence, which King tried to distance the movement from, but it also sparked momentum to right the wrongs our nation allowed.
Has progress been made since 1968? Yes. But in closing, we share the following prayer attributed to King. Take note, please, how much it yet resonates today. That, despite whatever progress has been made.
“We thank you for your church, founded upon your Word, that challenges us to do more than sing and pray, but go out and work as though the very answer to our prayers depended on us and not upon you. Help us to realize that humanity was created to shine like the stars and live on through all eternity. Keep us, we pray, in perfect peace. Help us to walk together, pray together, sing together, and live together until that day when all God’s children — Black, White, Red, Brown and Yellow — will rejoice in one common band of humanity in the reign of our Lord and of our God, we pray. Amen.”