Inevitability was one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s favorite words, and it would roll from his lips laced with his typical eloquence. And it is inevitable that in and around the date of his assassination there would be widespread commemoration, and even more so on this the 50th anniversary.
As always, because he was taken so tragically and suddenly from us, there is the question of what the great “Drum major for justice” would be doing now? How would he relate to the current upsurge of young people in the “March for Our Lives?” These questions are difficult and challenging, but on the basis of his last commitments it is easy to speculate that he would be right there with the new wave of Black Lives Matter and others outraged against police brutality and the Trump administration.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” is one of Dr. King’s most famous quotes and it epitomizes his philosophy and his mission to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
To this end he was a perpetual thorn in the side of the status quo, particularly those who had aligned themselves with the racist, white supremacist, the warmongers and those with nothing but evil intentions for the downtrodden.
Most people recall Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Yes, he was a dreamer but he was a planner, too, and after marching for the aggrieved sanitation workers in Memphis his next stop was the Poor People’s Campaign. That was indicative of the dramatic change in his mission for peace and justice, and now it was more than a demand for civil rights but a cry for human rights. Many believe that he was beginning to apply more and more, a class analysis than a racial one; that he was stepping beyond domestic issues to international affairs with his outspoken opposition to the war in Vietnam.
Again, we enter the realm of speculation, but there are a few certainties about this man of unimpeachable integrity. He was a dedicated freedom fighter, a devout Christian soldier, and one who detested inequality in any shape or form, by any color or creed.
Yes, it is inevitable to remember Dr. King the dreamer, and we do so as we think about the Dreamers, the young immigrants who were brought to this country illegally years ago and the rejection they are receiving from the current administration.
It’s a safe conclusion that Dr. King would be outraged and ready to take an unflinching stance against this injustice.
Dr. King’s mission, his destination was to get his people to the Promised Land, and he never strayed from that path no matter the intimidation, the harassment, the arrests, the threats against his life.
Some have postulated that in that final sermon or speech at Mason Temple in Memphis that he had a premonition of his death. Premonition or not, he said he had to do “God’s will.”
That will, that unwavering determination to be of service to humanity is the hallmark of his legacy and one that we should all honor and emulate. Let that be your inevitability.