Rev. and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered on April 4th, 1968, while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
At this point in his life, he had spent 13 years as the head of the Civil Rights Movement with these United States of America. He was 39 years old.
The movie Selma portrays the the time in which the SCLC, headed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (for the purpose of this post, shortened from here on out to MLKJ), spent in Selma, Alabama, between the years 1964 and 1965. It gives us a glimpse of the reality faced by MLKJ, his wife Coretta Scott King, the other members of the SCLC, and the people of Selma, as well as all of the people who stood up to injustice and inequality in the United States.
It is truly a movie worth watching, and something that made myself think about one particular moment in the movie.
In the movie, an operative of what seems to be the Secret Service is meeting with MLKJ the morning of the beginning of the final march towards Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, from Selma. He tells MLKJ that he should not be marching, essentially. MLKJ then responds that he wishes to live a long life, to love his wife and provide for his children, but that today is not about what he wants, but what God wants, and that God wants him to march with those people. So he does.
Throughout watching this movie, I understood that God’s will might be in direct conflict with what we want, but in God’s will we understand what is truly meant for us.
MLKJ understood truly that we would be killed for what he was fighting for. He spoke of it constantly, and never once did he want to die, but he knew it was coming. So he did all he could for his cause, and preached non-violence, understanding that violence cannot win against violence in a battle over the rights of human, and ultimately, change. Violence will not undo hatred. Only non-violence can begin to undo hatred.
To truly love, to act for the good will of others, is what MLKJ did. He faced inequality, injustice, and brutal opposition with a message of love, healing, justice, peace, non-violence, and the belief that one day, all people of all different races and creeds could come together and be brothers and sisters with one another. He died for his beliefs. He was murdered for his cause, and yet, he didn’t fail. His death, as much of a blow as it might have had to the very cause he fought for, ultimately proved his point. He is remembered now, and forever, for the love he brought to the world, shared with his human people, and left here with us.
Even if things may not have changed as much as we might have hoped, there have been steps in the right direction. Now God is calling us to act, to do His will, just as he asked MLKJ. Now is our turn. That is what this movie gives us. It teaches us not simply the realities of that time, but also those of this time. It teaches us that the struggle, the noble and righteous struggle is still not over, and now, it is our turn to take it up.
Today’s Daily Gratitude is for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and all that he imparted to us with his time here on Earth.
In his words, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”