Then his brothers said to him, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. Genesis 37:8
By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
Part I of II
This week we as a country were supposed to be celebrating the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Somehow we have regulated his life’s work to his I Have a Dream speech; however, it is much more than that.
Somewhere down the line we have forgotten that that particular speech came after many points of confrontation, sleepless nights, arrests and threats to his family.
That speech was changed and orchestrated to fit a mood and a wanted outcome.
Somehow we have forgotten that Dr. King’s life was for the masses and not a selected few.
Somehow we have allowed the historical aspect of his death to be mired in the mundane testimonies of what others dictate and how it should transpired, how long a celebration should last and what route should be taken and who should be inconvenienced.
We have allowed our elected officials to refer to this historic occasion as a “thing”.
“This would be a nice annual thing, to have the parade come downtown,” Seiler said. “We need to focus on making this thing a long-term success.” What Mayor Jack Seiler meant by “thing” in the magnitude of Dr. King, at this point, is a less than appealing respect for Dr. King’s accomplishments.
What has caused our spirits to be watered down from strong black coffee to lukewarm water?
As it pertains to the MLK Celebration here in Fort Lauderdale, even though the ideal and surrounding activities may have been a good ideal, the manner in which it was introduced and laid out left a bitter taste in mouths of a lot of Black residences.
When it was presented to me, at that time I made my thoughts CLEAR. I was not in favor of the plan as it was presented and since I was not on the planning committee nor had I attended any meetings; my thoughts did not make a difference.
Additionally, during the same conversation, I was asked for some suggestions to make the plan work. I stated that the parade needed to begin further into the Black community and perhaps a program at a church would be great to start the march and bring the community together and then proceed across the tracks.
There were some other things that I said which I will not write but I would say that they were in reference to convenience, not wanting to come on our side of the tracks and if the REAL reason was for unity then there should not be a problem with understanding.
I was told that the route and program could not be changed.
So much for unity.
From what I have read and what I have heard as well as to some visual reports of the events, they have been mixed with one unified underlining point; there were more Black participants than white.
We still have a ways to go in understanding what Dr. King’s purpose was in his life to the building of God’s king-dom.
“…We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community…” Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 16 April 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (NKJV)