Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
On the third Monday of January, the United States observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as an official federal holiday.
The Reverend Dr. King led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968. His famous “I have a dream” speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. will be remembered, read, and recited by people all over the country if not the world on Monday January 18.
“Martin Luther King’s commitment to nonviolent advocacy, coupled with service, won the hearts and minds of many Americans. King’s public and civil advocacy,coupled with a willingness to serve the most vulnerable, brought genuine transformation. Though he did not possess all the markers of power, he brought doctoral-level training and broad cultural experience to his philosophical personalism and commitment to dignity of all people…as America’s most effective prophet…his movement’s power was not in its social location but rather in its gospel commitment to truth, love and service. “
quoted from Gabriel Salguero,president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, writing in Christianity Today ,November 2015
Last year I wrote a post about interpersonal violence and Dr. King’s life reminds us of its tragic effects. His life ended suddenly and prematurely when, on April 4, 1968, an assailant shot him as he stood on a hotel balcony. He had delivered his last speech just the day before. The shooter was apprehended, and after confessing to the murder, sentenced to life in prison where he died.
Most people know of Dr. King’s assassination, but don’t know his mother, Alberta Williams King, also died violently. At age 69, sitting at the organ of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Mrs. King was shot and killed on June 30, 1974. Her 23-year-old assailant received a life sentence and died in prison.
Violence between persons creates social, economic and political problems, and serious medical consequences. It is a leading cause of death, especially in children, adolescents and young adults.
Non-fatal injuries often cause severe and permanent disability that changes lives, burdens families and increases medical costs astronomically. These include
- TBI, traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries leading to paraplegia, quadriplegia, ventilator dependence
- Amputations of limbs
- PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder; other forms of anxiety; depression
- Chronic pain, often leading to opiate dependence
Here is the post from last year about why and how we need to address violence in our society .
You can learn more about Dr. King and listen to part of his famous speech at this link at Biography.com
You can also read the full text of the speech at this link.
The following book suggestions lead to affiliate links which may pay a commission to this blog at no extra cost to you.
And a biography about Dr. King written for children I Am Martin Luther King, Jr.