Sunday, March 31, 2013

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Easter Epistle

From David Oppenheimer, at LAT, "King's Easter epistle on civil disobedience":
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s decision to violate an injunction forbidding him to pray, sing or march in public in Birmingham, Ala. On Good Friday 1963 (which fell on April 12 that year), King led a march from the 16th Street Baptist Church (where four black children would be killed in a bombing five months later), heading toward City Hall. He was almost immediately arrested, charged with violating a court order and taken to the Birmingham jail.

As he sat in jail on Easter Sunday and the days that followed, he wrote his "Letter From Birmingham Jail" to a group of moderate white clergymen who had issued a "call to unity" to civil rights activists, urging them to pursue legal remedies rather than engage in nonviolent protests. Anyone who hasn't read King's response lately (and most of us who have) would benefit from spending a few minutes reading it this Easter weekend.

King had journeyed to Birmingham to help lead an economic boycott of segregated stores, where blacks could shop but not work or eat. As he put it, "I am in Birmingham because injustice is here," and "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

The campaign used marches, lunch counter sit-ins, pray-ins at white churches and picketing to fill the jails with nonviolent protesters. But by Holy Thursday, the campaign was faltering, with too few volunteers available to subject themselves to arrest. When on the eve of a planned Good Friday march a local court granted the city attorney's secret request for an injunction, the consequences of demonstrating soared. Protesters would be subject to long sentences for contempt of court.

On Good Friday morning, King had to decide whether to postpone the demonstration. He was expected to preside over Easter Sunday services in his own church, Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta. His lawyer warned him that if he marched, he would probably still be in jail Sunday. His father and some of his aides urged him to comply with the order and go home. "I don't know where the money [for bail] will come from," he explained to them, "but I have to make a faith act." Andrew Young later described the moment as the "beginning of [King's] true leadership."
Continue reading.

Oppenheimer makes not one mention of homosexual marriage, ostensibly the biggest civil rights issue of the day. Actually, equal opportunity for black Americans still remains America's challenge, particularly in terms of the educational system (where inner city public schools are failing our youth). And Thursday will be the 45 anniversary of Dr. King's assassination. That'd be nice if the depraved homosexuals refrained from exploiting Dr. King's memory. And be sure to read King's "Letter From Birmingham Jail."