Today I offer a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., and a recognition that we, as the inheritors of his dream, have much work to do.
This is a photo montage that I created for an April, 2010, public commemoration of King’s death, here in Brookings, South Dakota. The soundtrack is MLK delivering his “Beyond Vietnam” speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 30, 1967. (The award-winning recording was edited for length.) On April 4, 1968, exactly one year after he first gave this speech at Riverside Church in New York, MLK was assassinated.
During the last year of his life, King suffered widespread condemnation and was abandoned by many supporters, white and black, because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. Despite the rejection and the risks, he never stopped summoning America to a “radical revolution of values.” He challenged the nation he loved to “come home” from the far country of “racism, militarism and economic exploitation.”
Today his call is ours to answer. Racism, militarism and economic exploitation remain three of our greatest obstacles to peace and justice.
This montage is 28 minutes long. I invite you to make time to watch and listen with full attention. It might reinvigorate your participation in a long, hard struggle.