MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR DAY
Martin Luther King, Jr is one of the thinkers and activists who I have admired over the years. He was a hero for many of my generation, an inspiration and a guide to a higher road to tranform society.
"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that even amid today's mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up. "
(Acceptance speech for Nobel Peace Prize, 1964)
Canada has been connected to the struggle against slavery and civil rights over the years. Dr King acknowledged Canada's unique contribution to the struggle against slavery in his Massey Lecture, "Conscience for Change", given in Toronto just a few months before he was killed.
“Canada is not merely a neighbour to Negroes, . . . . . .
Deep in our history of struggle for freedom Canada was the north star. The Negro slave, denied education, de-humanized, imprisoned on cruel plantations, knew that far to the north a land existed where a fugitive slave if he survived the horrors of the journey could find freedom.”
It has been a long and ongoing struggle for equal right and civil rights for Afro-Americans from the days of fugative slaves reaching Canada, many returning to post Civil War America to help fulfill there destiny of freedom, to today on the threshold of the elevation of the first Afro-American, Barack Obama, to the highest office in the land, President.
One likes to imagine the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr hovering over these days call out to all as he did so many years ago in Memphis. . . . .
“Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God once more for allowing me to be here with you.”. . . . . . .
“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop and I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will, and He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will get to the Promised Land. And I’m happy tonight; I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
("I've Been To The Mountaintop" April 3, 1968)