Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest. -MLK
A mural depicting the life and times of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds all of the protests for justice during the Civil Rights Movement. It adorns a building outside The King Center in Atlanta, GA.
Protests. This word carried much weight in the latter part of 2015, evoking emotional responses and heated debates between friends, loved ones, acquaintances and social media frequenters. Social justice advocates declared that we were in a revolution. The skeptical questioned if these gatherings were necessary and actually impactful. The optimists argued that mere social awareness was a success. The unbothered pretended no one was talking.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Jan 16, 2012, I gathered with more than 100,000 other individuals along MLK Drive in San Antonio, Texas to march 2.75 miles to honor the Late Great Martin Luther King, Jr. Going into its 25th year, the San Antonio march is the largest in the country. It was beyond humbling to stand beside generations of people from different races who all stood for equality and justice. Here’s a snapshot view of what went on through my personal lens…
Let’s travel back in decades to a time of segregation. A time where the term African American was unheard of because Blacks were not considered equal citizens. A time where the term Colored had nothing to do with Crayola, and Negro was the nice way of calling someone inferior, ignorant and uncivilized.
In this time, the possession of dark skin was thought to be a curse and mandated subjection to second class treatment and undeserving cruel punishments. When someone said KKK, they were not uttering extreme agreeance, but alluding to the white hooded night riders who terrorized neighborhoods in the name of white supremacy. Black leaders had to face the realization that they would by beat, jailed, executed and lynched for speaking their beliefs.
As I take this journey back to the 1950’s, a verse from the Negro spiritual comes to mind:
Sing a song full of the faith that the
dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
Of course at this moment I am not singing a song, yet I am doing another form of expression. I am blogging a blog to reflect on the journey my ancestors took to equality. I am blogging a blog to express gratitude to those leaders who stood in the face of adversity and fought so my generation can be the best we can be. I am blogging a blog to honor a great American Hero, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.