50 years ago I was a mere babe, so I literally grew up hearing the echoes of the words spoken by Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. a half century ago on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Over all those years, I had never had anyone explain the meaning of his words, no one defined the content of his speech to me.
That is until today…
On Wednesday August 28, several voices stepped forward to clarify Rev. King’s words, several stepped forward to clear up the lingering misconceptions of Rev. King’s intent. Among the speakers of note there was Martin Luther King III (son of Rev. King), Oprah Winfrey (still facing oppression… while shopping for a $65,000 purse), Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis (a man that marched with Rev. King back in 1963), former Presidents Carter and Clinton (our first “Black” president, his words) and of course Obama (our first “White-Black” president, the MSM’s new descriptive term).
Obama was gracious enough to channel the Rev. King directly so he could define his intent that summer of 63. He accused our society of willfully inflicting grievances based on not only race but gender, sexual orientation and wealth. Then communities across the nation were called out for providing children substandard school, diminished opportunity and inadequate health care. Finally the once hidden crises of “parental violence” was brought out in the open, as he spoke through Obama. (Well maybe that wasn’t Rev. King speaking but those were the words used).
Silly me… Over the years I have read Rev. Kings “I Have a Dream” speech a number of times and I failed to pick-up on all these profound points Obama spoke of. I had always imagined Reverend King was calling for the removal of the intentionally placed obstacles from the path of all (“not be judged by the color of their skin”) so they would be free to advance as far as their individual abilities could take them (“but by the content of their character”). Those were the most famous words, the most quoted words from that day in August of 63 but not the most important.
Of all the words spoken, the most powerful and perhaps the least remembered was the Reverends cautionary statement.
“In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.”
“…the high plane of dignity and discipline.” He knew in those early days that the acceptance of the “Black Man” as a social equal hinged on his behavior, again content of character… There was a time armed guards had to escort children through the doors of a once white segregated school, now their grandchildren need guards to escort them through their own neighborhoods because of those who claim the rights of the struggle but do not remember their responsibility to the struggle.
“We must FOREVER conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.”
These should have been the words most quoted. How much further could we be as a nation if we lived this phrase, these simple words are the key, the covenant to equality. The door of acceptance is open, it opened many years ago, we’ve been waiting for you…The TOMCAT