Salute To Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
December 5, 1955
Your 26-years-old just married, recently awarded your Ph.D. in theology and you have begun your ministry career in Montgomery Alabama. The furthermost thought in your mind is leading a movement for justice or civil rights in this new city you now call home. The deacons of the church you work at just let go of the previous minister, Vernon Johns because of his being a vocal dissenter of the treatment blacks were facing in the city due to Jim Crow mandates. Reverend Johns had been deemed too controversial, they were looking for a young moderate voice and because they knew the religious history of your grandfather and father in Atlanta, Georgia, the King's of Ebenezer Baptist Church, they considered you the safe choice.
However, on December 1, 1955, on a Montgomery, Alabama public transit bus a strong-willed black woman decided that enough was indeed absolutely enough. Rosa Parks decided that no longer would she simply allow the indignities and restrictions of an immoral Jim Crow to control her. It was time that the white powers of Montgomery, Alabama to recognize that Black Mongomerians were due the respect that was given to the white citizenry of that city. No longer would she accept bowing down to the city's rules of segregation simply because of the color of her skin.
The Supreme Court had overruled in 1954 the separate but equal doctrine of 1896 but that judgment was simply being ignored by the southern states, Alabama was one of the most confrontational states against equal rights for its black citizens. Southern states, hell, to be completely honest the entire nation, coast to coast was ruled by a power fed by the white institutions of racism. White Americans of all creeds and religions felt embolden and many of these White Americans felt that Black America was not capable of being full-classed citizens. In the south where Rosa Parks lived her entire life, Jim Crow had been the law of the land since the dismantling of Reconstruction almost 75 years earlier. Jim Crow forbids blacks from functioning as nothing more than a servant class to the whites who controlled every aspect of power.
So on the evening of December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks made a conscious decision to stand up or rather stay seated on that Montgomery City Public Bus. Her, stance, her arrest aroused the city. Rosa's action
against that dastardly racist system on refused by sitting and not moving Rosa Parks stirred a city infected by bigotry and hatred. Her act also aroused that 26-year-old minister to consider being the voice for change, the voice to bring down at least this one element of institutional racism. It was an international decision, it was a personal decision. I am not quite sure if those same deacons who sent Vernon Johns packing would've agreed for Martin King to be the spokesman had they truly understood the future ramifications.
So four days later, December 5, 1944, in a Montgomery, Alabama church a new heroic, fearless voice of a people was identified. Martin King announced that Montgomery Alabama's black citizens would no longer submit openly to racial oppression without direct action and united opposition. Martin King's voice and message along with the determined effort of the black citizens of Montgomery, Alabama motivated a core of Black Americans across this nation that hope did exist. The hope of being respected, the hope of being no longer ignored, hope of educating their children equally, the hope of the ability to compete for jobs and opportunities. Yet, before Martin King stepped to the pulpit that evening Martin King was perplexed as to whether he was the voice to deliver that message of hope. However, after this historic speech which I will read today. It was evident to the more than 5,000 people in those church pews as well as standing that Martin Luther King was indeed to man to deliver the message.
Until his murder 13 years, on the balcony of a Memphis, Tennessee motel this troubled nation and the world couldn't ignore Martin Luther King's passion for peace and justice. They tried to ignore his voice by the morality of his message was simply too strong for those who goal was maintaining and feeding racial injustice. Today, on the 90th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King I provide my 4th and final salute magnifying his greatness. That evening in Montgomery, Alabama when Martin King along with the actions of Rosa Parks aroused a city bent on black suppression to open there eyes to the possibility of hope.