Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Wind, the Words and the Meaning

On this day marking the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, our campus marked the event by sharing his words. In the cold and wind, pairs of students and faculty members stood in highly traveled campus spaces and read from various speeches. My partner and I read the "Give Us the Ballot" address that was delivered at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom on May 17th, 1957 in Washington, D.C.

As I stood in the Forum, the open air plaza overlooking the lake, throwing out his words to the wind and to any passersby who might listen, I was moved by the passion and compassion shown by this man. I was most touched by these thoughts that came near the end of the speech.
Go out with that faith today. Go back to your homes in the Southland to that faith, with that faith today. Go back to Philadelphia, to New York, to Detroit and Chicago with that faith today: that the universe is on our side in the struggle. Stand up for justice.

Sometimes it gets hard, but it is always difficult to get out of Egypt, for the Red Sea always stands before you with discouraging dimensions. And even after you've crossed the Red Sea, you have to move through a wilderness with prodigious hilltops of evil and gigantic mountains of opposition. But I say to you this afternoon: Keep moving. Let nothing slow you up. Move on with dignity and honor and respectability.
Despite the wind and the cold, I was happy to participate. I hope those who heard these words were touched in some way today. I know I was.

1 comment:

  1. Tricia, that's cool. I'm going to the library today to check out Tonya Bolden's biography of King.

    Have you read March On!, by King's sister, Christine? We read the picture book this week, and I thought it was very powerful. Definitely one of those picture books for older readers. Martin's Big Words is better for kindergarten and 1st graders.