Remembering Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

20 Jan

mlkOn this day, January 19, 2009, as we mark “Martin Luther King Day” around the nation while looking forward with great anticipation to the Inauguration of President-elect Barrack Obama as the 44th President tomorrow, January 20th, I wish to “re-publish” my articles in tribute to a man who, as one newscaster reminded us today, would be 80 years old if still living and able to witness the historic swearing in of the first Afro-American President of the United States. 

Dr. King was a personal hero to me. To this day his approach to winning freedom for an oppressed people and forging coalitions – rainbow bridges – continues to inspire me. 

We are here to heal separation as the Human Family. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. knew that. He also understood the ways of the Peaceful Warrior. How I wish I could be able to see him standing there tomorrow in witness of this coming historic occassion, but then I know he will be there! 

In appreciation and respect, Deborah Adler.

Original Post at : http://debadlersblog.blogspot.com/2008/01/remembering-rev-dr-martin-luther-king.html 

Yes, Monday was the day that Congress selected to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday. I remarked somewhere during the day to a friend of mine that I always used to take part in a memorial march on this day. It was almost a throw-away comment, because we were in the middle of preparing for the gifting of donated library materials to go to various centers in the community. My comment, if heard, I don’t really think was noted.

Perhaps we’ve grown past the day of marches…maybe they are part of the history to which the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. now belongs…a history that I am also a part of for having been there and participated…

My “wonder years,” as they have been described by a popular bread commercial of the 60’s and 70’s, included the assassinations of a U.S. President, a Spiritual and Civil Rights Leader, and a former U.S. Attorney General and Presidential Candidate; the birth of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War conflict that ripped our nation apart, as if it needed any further help in that department. Marches and Sit-ins were the modus operandi of the day for standing up and speaking out and demonstrating solidarity. Today we have blogs and YouTube and other forms of electronic audio-visual communications to reach the global audience with our causes and concerns. Back then, we had megaphones, and placards painted with our messages of defiance and hope. We sang songs and chanted slogans in unison. Yes, when Ms. Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus, it ushered in a whole new era – for all of us.

I was in junior high school when John Kennedy, our nation’s President, was shot. I remember being dismissed from school early after listening intently to the radio broadcast over the school’s public-address system from my math class room. When I got out to where our parents’ cars were already waiting, I remember getting in and the ominous ride home with my mother. I remember the fear I felt inside that we were without a leader and how vulnerable that might make us as a country. I asked her if the Communists were going to take over the country. “I don’t know,” she answered very quietly. “We have to get home.”

John Kennedy’s assassination stopped the world for 4 days, at least in the Detroit suburb of Oak Park, where I lived. The nation stayed glued to the TV, hanging on every update that Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley could bring of the initially sketchy details through the capture and then assassination of suspect Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby, the President’s body lying in state in the Capital, and the seemingly endless funeral procession through the streets of Washington D.C. to the burial site at Arlington National Cemetery, where a little boy, John-John, said goodbye to his Father with a military salute that captured the hearts of people around the world in the now immortalized front page photograph.

It seems when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, not all of the country stopped in quite the same way. Not everyone was touched in the same way, I suppose, because there were those who celebrated his death. People fed by the ignorance of hatred and bigotry claimed victory. The rest of us held our breath for the future of humanity, wondering would there ever be a time when there was true equality and peace.

These were heady questions for a young high school girl in the mid-1960’s. But they were what occupied my mind in the days following the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.

Dr. King had become a hero to me. Even though I was not an Afro-American, I felt a personal identity with his vision. I was captivated by his eloquence, his passion, his courage, his leadership…his determination to win equality for all people through non-violent peaceful means.

Dr. King captured the heart of this idealistic young high school girl who personalized the racial strife in her country and hungered for a way to make a difference and be heard so that Afro-American people could know that not all White Americans hated those different from themselves. He provided a sure and steady power of example in those turbulent times. And Hope. He was a messenger for Faith and Hope.

So I found myself profoundly affected by the loss of this great leader, Dr. Martin Luther King. It was a loss I had to carry deeper inside myself than that of President Kennedy, because I did not find that it was shared by all of my friends – certainly not at the depth at which I felt it.

My respect and love for this man has grown through the years. I continue to be inspired by his vision and his powerful manner of delivery. May we dedicate our lives to unity and respect for all Beings, that all Humankind – black, white, red, yellow, straight, gay, young, old — and all life on this planet, may know health, wealth and happiness and flourish. Above all, may we all know Dignity and Respect.

 

Loving Your Enemies, excerpts from a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

original post at: http://debadlersblog.blogspot.com/2008/01/loving-your-enemies-from-dr-martin.html

I wanted to share some excerpts from one of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches, which can be found in their entirety on the internet at http://www.mlkonline.net/speeches.htmlk, among other places.

Excerpts from “Loving Your Enemies:”

There’s another reason why you should love your enemies, and that is because hate distorts the personality of the hater. We usually think of what hate does for the individual hated or the individuals hated or the groups hated. But it is even more tragic, it is even more ruinous and injurious to the individual who hates. You just begin hating somebody, and you will begin to do irrational things. You can’t see straight when you hate. You can’t walk straight when you hate. You can’t stand upright. Your vision is distorted. There is nothing more tragic than to see an individual whose heart is filled with hate. He comes to the point that he becomes a pathological case. For the person who hates, you can stand up and see a person and that person can be beautiful, and you will call them ugly. For the person who hates, the beautiful becomes ugly and the ugly becomes beautiful. For the person who hates, the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good. For the person who hates, the true becomes false and the false becomes true. That’s what hate does. You can’t see right. The symbol of objectivity is lost. Hate destroys the very structure of the personality of the hater.

…long before modern psychology came into being, the world’s greatest psychologist who walked around the hills of Galilee told us to love. He looked at men and said: “Love your enemies; don’t hate anybody.” It’s not enough for us to hate your friends because-to to love your friends-because when you start hating anybody, it destroys the very center of your creative response to life and the universe; so love everybody. Hate at any point is a cancer that gnaws away at the very vital center of your life and your existence. It is like eroding acid that eats away the best and the objective center of your life. So Jesus says love, because hate destroys the hater as well as the hated.

Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. That’s why Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” Because if you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and to transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though they’re mistreating you. Here’s the person who is a neighbor, and this person is doing something wrong to you and all of that. Just keep being friendly to that person. Keep loving them. Don’t do anything to embarrass them. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with bitterness because they’re mad because you love them like that. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.

©2009 Deborah Adler. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Remembering Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

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  1. Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King 2010 « Deb Adler’s Weblog - July 31, 2010

    […] (Other posts by Deb Adler honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: https://debadler.wordpress.com/2009/01/20/remembering-rev-dr-martin-luther-king-jr/ […]

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