Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma during the marches in 1965

Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma during the marches in 1965

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Roo and I spent the last two days in Selma, Alabama, the iconic scene of one of the most brutal incidents of the struggle for voting rights in America. On March 7th, 1965, when attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge to march from Selma to Montgomery, peaceful protesters faced gas mask-clad, bat-wielding, cattle-prodding, truncheon-swinging police and their attack dogs. In short order it earned the name Bloody Sunday, but what it exemplified was the value of dignity and composure over hatred. 

Roo waited in the car on Martin Luther King, Jr. Street outside the historic Brown Chapel AME Church while I sat with the congregation to hear Pastor Leodis Strong's moving sermon. I am not a churchgoing man. I was there looking for some small way to honor Dr. King and the struggle for basic human and civil rights that the events at Selma personified. It wasn't necessary to be a churchgoing man to be affected deeply by Pastor Strong's sermon. It has echoed in me for the 36 hours since. It was a privilege to be there and to be among the visitors welcomed so warmly by everyone at Brown Chapel. Thank you all. And thank you, Pastor, for the mementos, which I will always treasure.

And may a peaceful rest come one day for that American hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, when one day his dream will be realized. It sure hasn’t been yet.

Display at the Lowndes County Interpretive Center. Every single American should visit this.

Display at the Lowndes County Interpretive Center. Every single American should visit this.

View of the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma on Sunday morning

View of the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma on Sunday morning