Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., most recently memorialized on the National Park grounds in Washington DC, indeed had more than just a dream. Dr. King spoke over several years in many different places and about many different situations that arose in America and abroad. His common theme for his words of wisdom to his fellow country men, or as he so often put – his brothers and sisters, was that of equality, peace and unity. As I reflect and read back over his letter from the Birmingham Jail and the Beyond Birmingham: A Time to Break Silence speech, I can see that his stance never wavered and his vision was quite clear. Even today with our nation coming up on the anniversary of the “9/11” attack on the United States, I can see that his words do still mean a great deal into the bridging of our society and world. Educators must bring his wisdom to the youth of today in order to try and combat the years of ignorance they have been taught and will be taught. Society will not be able to change without an educated and empowered body.
The letter Dr. King wrote from the Birmingham jail was very thoughtful, clear and concise. He wanted to make a point to address and completely explain his intentions to those that chose not to understand the importance of his actions and the movement he stood with. He single handedly addressed every retort made to him as it related to the, then current, social injustices of the South and the lack of understanding from the communities disinterest in integrating and closing the societal gaps as it pertained to Black Americans. His outrage was manifested and converted into a tool of wisdom and unconsciously, a means of educating those who opposed him on his awareness of the issues and the movement’s legitimacy. His ability to outline the facts for these naysayers was thought provoking and genuine. The transparency of his actions, like this letter, can debunk the myth that retaliation, even in a nonviolent state, is always of negative action, but is brought on by a specific cause, usually an injustice.
The Time to Break Silence Speech brought Dr. King’s vision into a world wide context and full fold. His ability to incorporate his teachings and his encouragement of his brothers and sisters during the civil rights movement shows his opinion on how America was conducting itself abroad and in a global view. King (1967) stated, “Our government.. fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long.” This was his way of trying to help people understand that every situation no matter how complex or seemingly insignificant had an effect on this country. His words were said to try and launch a plea to the government to correct its ways of bulling, both in America and abroad. If this message could have penetrated the minds of those making the decisions, maybe our country wouldn’t have faced some of the things we see in the history books today.
Now, as we embark on the 10th anniversary...