History is like a large pond. It’s depth contains all its content, however it is on the surface where we judge whether something makes an effect on the pond. A small pebble thrown into the pond makes a ripple that spreads across the surface until it finally diminishes to the observer’s eye. Science teaches us that energy is never destroyed…it just changes form. The energy that was transferred from the pebble to the water is still there and capable of facilitating change.
Martin Luther King wasn’t a pebble, but a rock!
The ripples made by his splash in the pond of history released a great energy that brought about true change in this country in a non-violent manner. Ponder Dr. King’s following thought on the danger of using violence to promote change;
“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that”.
He understood that the path to change was a narrow one that would be difficult to travel, not unlike a journey to a mountaintop.
I have seen the change over my lifetime. The city where I grew up was the Texas stronghold of the KKK in the 1970’s. In fact, the Klan had a bookstore and would have robe wearing morons with signs out by the road inviting people in to talk about their “view of the world”. I went to school with kids of Klan members. I also went to school with Darrell.
Darrell was the first African American student to enroll in the school district where I was a student. The year was 1972, and the school district of my hometown was 98% white, 1.5% Hispanic and 0.5% other, but until then, no African American students.
Darrell was not well received, to say the least! Many students were not very nice to Darrell just because he was different from them. What’s more, even some of the teachers treated Darrell poorly. In fact, the gym coach used to call him derogatory names and every time we boxed in gym,he made sure Darrell had an opponent that was more than adequate to deliver a few good blows. I don’t know what happened to Darrell,because after that school year, he didn’t enroll again. From time to time, I wonder what became of Darrell…it would be interesting to find out how life turned out for Darrell.
For the school district, things have changed remarkably. The school district now has students of various racial backgrounds, as well as a diverse collection of teachers, administrators and support personnel. This was possible because of the actions of Dr. King. It is also the school district where I teach, and I am proud of the changes he help bring about.
It would be interesting to know what Dr. King would think about how far we have come, and remind us of how far we have to go. What would be even more interesting is to see how much more Dr. King would have accomplished, if not for that fateful day in Memphis.
Perhaps the best way to end this post is to leave the readers with one of my favorite quotes of Dr.King’s that our leaders would be mindful to remember!
“Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true”.
Martin Luther King Jr.
US black civil rights leader & clergyman (1929 – 1968)
PS: Too bad his contemporaries such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have pissed away the power of Dr.King’s legacy and wasted it by becoming “poverty pimps” and shakedown artists!