MLK Day Makes me Think of our Wedding Day

When driving through small town America sometimes we keep on driving. The gas tank may be close to ‘e’ but we will keep on going and hope for a station with less suspicious looking characters if needs be. As we pull in we look around first before getting out of the car. Usually only one of us would get out if there were other people around. This reality shocked me during our first years of marriage. Visiting far away churches by car to raise funds for our new missionary venture meant driving through parts of the country still closed to the idea of a black man married to a white woman. A decade later now in the brand new year of 2011 I wonder if things have changed?

We are deeply indebted to the courageous work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and those who worked closely beside him. Were it not for the passion and resolve of this brother things would look very different for our nation. I wonder if we would have been able to celebrate openly with our loved ones on our wedding day. Or if 1996 would have been a year of continued segregation and painful racism.

I hold in my lap a book of famous speeches. Contained therein the complete discourse given by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial. Selecting a portion to transcribe is nigh unto impossible, for start to finish the words emblazon hope in my heart. The truth I needed to be reminded of today is thus:

“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time…”

Now is the time to train my children to walk in the truth. Now is the time to take action against the destructive forces of injustice running rampant in the world. Now is the time to speak for those who have to voice. Now is the time to love like never before, give like never before and hope like never before. Now is the time.

9 thoughts on “MLK Day Makes me Think of our Wedding Day

  1. I know exactly what you are talking about with not stopping in certain places. I have two siblings that are black and things are still interesting in places here. Breaks my heart. I too am thankful Rev. King! Blessings!

  2. I often wonder this…how much of King’s dream has come to pass – how close are we to the point where “…my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”

    I conclude that I don’t have a good point of view on figuring that out. (Partly living in small town KS.)

    FWIW, I can think of several friends I have who married someone of a different race. Courtney (was at his wedding), Elaine, Joe, I’m sure there’s others…

    1. Marriages of the races has been more common as of late. This I have found to be true… or I am just more aware of them due to my situation.

  3. Angie… I am always thankful that I work in a Boarding School which has Nigerian, Kenyan, Jamaican, Ghanain, Chinese, Italian, Portugese, German, Swiss, Austrian & Greek as well as English students.

    Nothing breaks down racial barriers like actually living with & getting to know people.

    As usual…. great blog!

    Tim.

    1. I would very much enjoy working in such a melting pot, Tim. I agree that living with people allows you to get to know them well.

  4. If you and your husband had walked up to my families house when I was growing up in 1950’s Stamford, CT, your husbands skin color would have made you both unwelcomed.

    I played with black kids and considered them as friends, but I never thought about inviting them to my house, or ever thought about dating a black girl.

    Dr. King helped make American “one nation” for the first time. I am as much indebted to him for freeing me from the blindness of racism as Afro-Americans are. It might be only when you have personally experienced racism that you fully can appreciate how much he did for his country, including making the ultimate sacrifice.

    From the last speech he gave before he was assassinated:

    “And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

    1. What a wonderful quote, Ed; especially when the context is known. Yet, he did not know the context which make it even more profound.

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