Born Michael Luther King, Jr. in January of 1929, Doctor King is without a doubt one of the names of people that I thought of when I began to think about Chris’ exhibit about infamous people. Despite his revolutionary efforts on behalf of the Civil Rights Movement, and his commitment to nonviolent means of protests, Dr. King no doubt was an individual who lived a life that impacted the lived of all people (to the dismay of some, and the joy of others).
I believe that Dr. King’s infamy is rooted in part in what was then a radical and revolutionary thought that all people are image bearers of The Creator God, and should be treated and held equal as members of that creation.
In a time in which many African American citizens were fighting to be seen as something more than inferior, unworthy, and beneath their caucasian counterparts, Dr. King and others worked hard and marched, protested, picketed, and rallied to push for total inclusion and acceptance for all people. King became a hero to many, and a villain to others as a result of his efforts though the Civil Rights Movement.
I had the pleasure of walking through the National Civil Rights Museum alongside my classmates in the seminary program that I am a part of in February of 2017. Printed in large letters on the walls of the first room that one enters at the museum, amidst information and memorabilia about African slave trade and inhumane living and working conditions were the words
” We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal”
I couldn’t help but be struck by the irony of this statement, written in 1776, surrounding reminders of such a painful and shameful piece of our nation’s past.
I am grateful that Dr. King and others like him were willing to risk ridicule, violence, injustice, pain, and even death in the pursuit of what they felt was a right and noble cause. I am grateful that they believed so strongly, that they endured and triumphed in order that we might live in a society that was more diverse, accepting, free, and open to persons of all races, creeds, and backgrounds.
It is a shame that it took a bunch of infamous, “revolutionary”, and “visionary” thinkers to help our nation to realize the power of a more than 200-year-old statement that… “All men are created equal”.
I pray that we may all be willing to risk infamy and endure hardships in order that our brothers and sisters will know that they too bear the image of our Creator and that they too deserve the protection, freedom, and love that we are all entitled to.