For the past couple of weeks we have been talking about African American people of faith who in some way were affected by slavery and/or racism, yet made a difference. Today, we are going to talk just a little about what the KING believed. None other than the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was perhaps the most celebrated or activists for the cause of Bllack Americans from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.
Dr. King was the son of a noted preacher in Atlanta, Georgia, the Rev. Michael King. He grew up in the Baptist church and as such was exposed to certain tenets of faith and guided by certain principles. Yet he expressed doubt over many of these doctrines of faith. And, despite his education and travel experiences as a young man, he was perhaps most greatly influenced by the teaching of Mahatma Ghandi, the Indian pacifist who fought with nonviolence for his people. Many Christians interpreted his views on nonviolence with the teachings of Jesus;
Jesus said, "’Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them."Matthew 22:35-37(MSG)
Whatever the motivation, people followed the leadership of Dr. King and from Atlanta, Georgia to Selma, Alabama, all the way to Washington D.C., the words of Dr. King spoke life to the civil rights movement. Words such as:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Despite the controversy that even today rages concerning the life of Dr. King, there is no one who can deny the influence his life and teaching had on the movement to end the violence and oppression of the Jim Crow south and the inequality experienced by Black Americans throughout the United States and abroad. Whether he was a true man of faith in Jesus Christ, or merely a man who had faith in pushing forth a movement. whose time had arrived, Dr. King and all who followed him brought about a change in American life that has been of benefit to all people.