A day, a week, or a month, no matter how grand or reflective, just doesn’t do justice to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I enjoyed and was inspired by the services, concerts, ceremonies, workshops, and the ‘day-on’ activities, but, for me, it’s never enough. True homage to his legacy and life quietly demands a conscientious effort to live upon his path of human dignity, justice, compassion, humility, courage, and peace.
On the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, where Dr. King was martyred, hangs a plaque with a portion of a Bible Genesis verse which reads: “Here comes the Dreamer, let us slay him and see what happens to his Dream”. Dr. King was a Dreamer, but he was not a Sleeper, and if we are to be just to his legacy and to ourselves, we cannot fall asleep to our obligation to embody some portion of that Dream daily, especially those of us who claim him and his hometown.
Dr. King tirelessly fought ‘the 3 hounds of hell’: hate, fear, and hypocrisy, and he battled them, as well, in their societal forms of racism ( the hate of another people), extreme materialism (the fear of not ever having enough or of not being enough), and militarism (the hypocrisy of calling aggression defence, or of thinking killing leads to peace). These struggles remain and those of us who take pride in Dr. King must do what we can to live up to his standards, especially when it comes to war, hate, and deception.
He said, “Nothing worthwhile is gained without sacrifice” and “People derive inspiration from their involvement”. May we not shy away from confronting the hounds of hell in and around us, as well as the societal evils that plague populations and posterity. As tragic as Dr. King’s death was, he pointed to a greater calamity. He said, “There is nothing more tragic in all this world than to know right and not do it.”
Submitted by Imam Plemon T. El-Amin