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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Died 47 Years Ago, April 4

Dr. Peter Bramble | 4/3/2015, 9:30 a.m.
Forty-Seven years have now gone by since our esteemed, leader Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. File photo

Forty-Seven years have now gone by since our esteemed, leader Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee.

By the time of his death, King had become the symbol of the civil rights movement.

He was there for the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown vs Board of Education condemning “separate but equal” in public education.

He was there when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus to go to the back seats in order to make room for white riders. He was at the forefront of the demonstrations that followed— the bus boycotts and the street demonstrations.

In short, from the mid-nineteen fifties to the time of his death, King was involved as a leader in just about every significant civil rights action. He led many a demonstration and was there to witness many successes along the road.

By the time of his death, on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King was in every sense the very embodiment of the civil rights movement.

From time to time we hear people wondering how King would view the progress of black Americans almost fifty years since his historic time. In these days and times, what would King say and do about the state of black America?

No one really knows. Most people continue to say that “we have come a long way, but we have a long way to go!” And they are right in some sense.

However, if we as a society were to follow the pattern of what happened after the great work of leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. we would do something very different.

Look at what happened after Moses in the Book of Exodus confronted the Pharaoh of Egypt. He celebrated the Passover (Passover this year providentially falls on April 4) and the Jews went on to form a nation.

Look at what happened after Jesus led a movement with his 12 disciples; after he too was murdered on a cross— celebrated on Good Friday, April 3, this year! His disciples founded the Christian Church, which is thriving today with a worldwide membership in excess of two billion members!

Look at what happened after Gandhi led the non-violent movement in India. They went on to change a nation and in about sixty short years, India has become a power to be reckoned with.

Look at what happened in South Africa after Nelson Mandela led a movement for freedom, even after many years of suffering and imprisonment for almost a complete generation! South Africa was changed forever!

However, when we look at what has happened since King’s death, blacks continue to speak and act as though things have not changed. Despite the fact that many favorable laws are now in place; despite the fact that we actually have a black man holding the highest office in the land; despite the fact that we have leaders in all walks of life, we continue to think and talk as though nothing significant has changed.