A glance at King’s famous letter

My admiration for the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., grows regularly.
When I think of the word “Christian,” his is one of the first names that comes to mind.
When I think of the word “American,” his words often come to mind.
When I think of the word “Patriot,” his face is one of the first that comes to mind.
When I think of the word “Courageous,” his actions are some of the very first that come to mind.

As I began taking up writing – albeit in the journalistic form – for a career, my admiration for Dr. King grew even more. Not only were his ideas and actions often brilliant, but his writing was fascinating.

Here, is a small portion from his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

“Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience.”

Can you imagine a leader today referencing Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? Trump? Paul Ryan? Hillary Clinton? Bernie Sanders? Elon Musk? Oprah?

Hell, that would require an expectation that the population know a tad bit o’ history.

Even though I think the march for progress is inevitable, something lost in recent years is our respect and knowledge for history. Expecting the average high school valedictorian to know who Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are is too much.

Hell, I’d be happy if someone knew Louie Armstrong’s classic song about them. The Beastie Boys don’t really explain who they are, but I guess a fan might know the name.

Every weekday, The Southpaw finds a sentence that grips him. It could be through its language or the ideas it carries that he finds interesting. It could be a piece of dialogue from a movie, an excerpt from a book or a lyric from a song.

If you consider yourself a Christian or a patriot and have not read the letter in full, you’ve failed yourself. Stop what you’re doing and read it now.

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