Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Fifty Years Ago in Memphis

Fifty 50 years ago today Dr Martin Luther King was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray. In a song off U2's Unforgettable Fire album (my favorite U2 album by miles) entitled "Pride (In the Name of Love)," Paul Hewitt (a.k.a. Bono Vox) sang: "Early morning, April four/Shot rings out in the Memphis sky..."

It was Dr, King, a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, echoing the words of the one he sought to follow (see Matthew 12:26), who said- "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that"- Martin Luther King.

In his memorable speech, delivered while standing on the bed of flatbed truck in Indianapolis, Indiana, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, whose brother, John, was assassinated in 1963 and who himself would be assassinated in Los Angeles in a few days over two months, said this:
My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: "Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God"

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness; but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black."

"... and say a prayer for our country and for our people."
I have little doubt that, as a Catholic (the most devout of the Kennedy brothers), Bobby also prayed for the repose of Dr King's soul.

MLK and RFK remain people who represent the best of what we are and point us to what we, as a people, might yet be.

"How long shall they kill our prophets, while we stand aside and look?" Bob Marley

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