I still remember the chills that I got
sitting in class in elementary school when I heard the resonant voice
of Martin Luther King Jr. for the very first time as I listened to his
I had never felt that way at hearing someone speak before.
The most prominent reason that I believe I had that sensation, as
I so clearly remember it, is because I had learned so much about him
and read about what a great man he was- and to think of him having
been killed not long after that speech made hearing his voice
more startling in some way.
That voice brings back a similar feeling, even now.
When I was in junior high, and then again in high school,
I got the chance to read his April 1963 "Letter from Birmingham
Jail" and studied it, as well as Dr. King. I loved learning more about
him through the poignant words he had penned, and words so
powerfully written in spite of the pressure he must have been
I was amazed by his character, strength, resolve, and passion.
Studying him made me thankful for the selflessness he showed
and what he was able to accomplish on behalf of those who were not
treated equally and with respect at the time... especially because,
although I love the South, I don't want to think about this place
with so much beauty being today what it was when Civil Rights
were still having to be fought for.
The South was Dr. King's home and it makes me sad to think
about the fact that he didn't get to enjoy his life here, then,
the way he could have now- but on the other hand, there is
reason to be happy for those who do, largely because of him.
Martin Luther King Jr. will always have this beautiful enigmatic
quality to me in how I think of him; I have great admiration for the
man he was, a husband, father, preacher, man of great
intelligence, a kind of sharpness of mind you could see in his eyes,
and most of all, a man of incomparable faith.
His belief in God was a powerful driving force in his life and in
the work he did, both as someone who preached about the God he loved
and who tried to get people to understand his cause for peace when
they blinded themselves.
His quotes about faith and what he believed, the principles
that his life centered around, are not seen as much as others, but how
amazing they are to read. You can find several here, but this is one
of my favorite:
"Like the early Christians, we must move into a sometime
hostile world armed with the revolutionary gospel of
Jesus Christ. With this powerful gospel we shall
boldly challenge the status quo."
And that is exactly what he did.
What an amazing testimony to the values he possessed were the qualities
he showed, morality, the strength of character to be passive when he was
the target of violence, and the utmost belief in God to see him through
each day as he challenged what was wrong with what he knew
was right... and what he was called to do to aim to make it right.