Speaking & Teaching
Apr. 10, 2019
Sometimes in your life, you just need to revisit those events in the past that have had a profound impact on your life. For me, one of those impactful times came on April 9, 1968, when I was watching Martin Luther King Jr.'s final services from Ebenezer Baptist Church. I couldn't, of course, understand that day the full impact of day until much later in my adult life. Reverend Ralph Abernathy, read the words from one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s sermons at the conclusion of the funeral service that turned out to be quite prophetic. In this sermon, King addressed the issue of choices made today by the black communities and how today's choices would impact future black generations. Dr. King wrote of our black communities choice of choosing a non-violence path versus choosing a violent path in solving the issues confronting our black communities. Dr. King forecasted in that speech read by Dr. Abernathy that dark day in black history the perils that afflict many of our communities today. It was almost like Martin Luther King Jr. had been given the gift of being allowed to move ahead in time for the purpose of forewarning us of wrong choices.
What possessed Ralph Abernathy to choose that specific sermon to read from during Martin Luther King's final homecoming services? As a matter of fact, had Coretta Scott King not requested that a recording is played from Dr. Martin Luther King's, February 4, 1968, drum major sermon that has historically been noted as Dr. Martin Luther King's preaching his own eulogy. The words that Martin Luther King wrote and Ralph Abernathy spoke would've been more poignant. I mean King forecasted that if our black communities chose poorly our communities would end up destroying themselves. King forecasted that we would be turning the sword of violence against ourselves if we choose the wrong path. You really need to revisit listening to the words Ralph Abernathy as he read King asking our black communities choosing love over the words an eye for an eye, or a tooth for a tooth.
Was it that day, in that Atlanta Georgia church that the concept of black love died? Was it the final nail that closed the coffin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. life that killed black love? Is that the reason that 51 years later after seeing the prophet of peace murdered and buried that black communities simply decided that love for love's sake was useless? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted us just to love somebody, anybody. He lived his life on the precipice believing that a man could love another man unconditionally based not on his skin color but on the content of that man's character. However, Martin Luther King Jr was murdered because of the color of his skin not the content of his character. Did that make it easier for black men to kill other black men because they cared not about either about color or character? Unable to strike out against the true enemy of oppression did blacks simply learn to strike out against their own because the essence of black love died in our community when that bullet silenced the messenger of love and peace?
I don't dare venture into this discussion any longer. I do know that each and every day in black communities across the United States the evidence that Dr. King words warned us about are evident. The multiple younger black generations that have followed since April 9, 1968, have been more and more violent towards each other than being blessed. We must find a way to rediscover the concept that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted each of us to internalize black love for ourselves and each other.