Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Touched Lives Then and Now

By age 39 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was dead.  My oldest son will not be 39 for yet 10 months.  If Dr. King had lived he would be 85 years of age.   I was just 13 years old when he was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4,  1968.  Dr. King has now been dead for 46 years.  About two years ago while shopping around an old flee market in nearby West Memphis, Arkansas my son Brian McClure, PhD. and I purchased a one of a kind photograph of Dr. King that was owned by a lady whose family found it in her attic after their mother’s death.  The photo was taken on either Dr. Kings first trip into Memphis on behalf of the Sanitation Workers or on his final trip to Memphis when he was shot from his hotel balcony at the Lorraine Motel.  I stand amazed at all Dr. King accomplished in such a short time span.  By the time Dr. King was only 26 years old he led the most life changing organized nonviolent movement in the history of America in Montgomery, Alabama.  For 382 days Dr. King became the public face on the Montgomery Bus Boycott that ultimately lead the United States Supreme Court to declare public bus segregation unconstitutional in 1956.  Behind the public faces of Dr. King and Mrs. Rosa Parks was Attorney Fred Gray, a young preacher in the churches of Christ who had recently completed law school at Case Western Law School in Cleveland, Ohio although he was born and raised in Alabama.  Attorney Fred Gray had been refused admission into Law School in his home state of Alabama for the same reason that Mrs. Parks had been arrested on the segregated Montgomery bus, specifically being black.   America did not know that two preachers, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Attorney Fred Gray, were about to combine efforts and change the course of American history.

Five interesting facts about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

We may have come over on two separate ships, but we are all in the same boat now”.

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

When Dr. King was killed in Memphis, Tennessee I was in the 9th grade at West Junior High School located less than 20 miles from where Dr. King was murdered in downtown Memphis.  It wasn’t until 1971 that the public schools in my hometown went under a federal mandate to completely eliminate separate black and white schools.  I also recall The Halk House Restaurant in my hometown not allowing blacks to eat inside.  I vividly remember the “colored” sign and an arrow pointing to the back where you could order but could not eat on premise.  On the other end of town was Wonder City Restaurant which did not allow blacks to eat there as well.  Only a few blocks away from Wonder City Restaurant was The Avon Theater which had a balcony for blacks.  I recall my older sister telling about going into the theater and a black usher yelling at the blacks about talking in the balcony while not being allowed to correct any behaviors of the whites who could sit anywhere they choose inside the movie house.  I remember black city police officers, there were two of them, only being allowed to patrol black neighborhoods and events although their white counterparts were allowed access to the entire town.

The churches as I remember in 1968 when Dr. King was killed were as segregated racially if not more so, than the schools, restaurants, and theaters.  In 1971 when the schools were ordered to completely desegregate,  suddenly a surge of church operated private schools  in Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, and even churches of Christ occurred.  Sadly churches throughout the south were targets of burnings and bombings but the one that drew national attention was the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.  Finally, I recall my parents taking me to the local Doctors office and upon entering the foyer there was a door to the right leading into a white waiting room and a door to the left leading into a black waiting room.  Well I guess maybe I should mention the segregated funeral homes and also the segregated grave yards.

Dr. King lived a life dedicated to tearing down foundations and walls and an attitude that some Americans were superior and more acceptable than other American citizens.  Dr. King lived 39 short years modeling and preaching nonviolence toward every American citizen.  Every American has in some manner been made better by the life and service of Dr. King.  Dr. King advocated education, family, work, worship, honoring government and obeying laws that did not contradict the laws of heaven.  Take time to teach your children about how your life has been made better because Dr. King lived.  Encourage your family to research a specific area of life that Dr. King impacted such as religion, education, family, travel, politics, civil rights, etc.  New Self Honesty will lead you to an eye opening conclusion that Dr. King touched every component of society either in his 39 years of life or even 50 years afterwards.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man will lay down his life for his friends.   John 15:13

Is there a cause so important to you that you are willing like Christ and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that you are willing to die for?


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