April 4, 1968: “Martin Luther King Shot”

– L. Arthalia Cravin

Forty-four years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, was shot to death as he stood on the balcony on the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. King was in Memphis to lead a march of sanitation workers to protest low wages and poor working conditions.

Dr. King believed in lending his voice and his feet to causes that affected the poor. He died on the battlefield fighting for justice. But too many of us have come to believe that the fight is over—far from it. We are re-entering and, dare I say, doomed to repeat much of the unjust, unfair, and discriminatory history that Dr. King denounced and then died for.

I often wonder what Dr. King would say about what is happening in the social, political and economic arenas today. What would he say about all the voter ID laws that will no doubt disenfranchise thousands, if not millions of poor people in the next presidential election? What would he say about the ongoing mass incarceration of young African American men and women, and other peoples of color? What would he say about all the black on black youth crime in places like Chicago? What would he say about America’s criminal justice system? What would he say about the killing of Trayvon Martin? What would he say about the almost 20 percent poverty rate in Randall and Potter counties? What would he say about rampant job discrimination that has not diminished one bit since his death? What would he have to say about the great wealth divide in this country? What would he say about the state of America’s healthcare system? So many social justice questions that will never be answered.

But too soon we forget. Too soon we forget the courage and perseverance of those who have “fought the good fight of faith.” Too soon we forget some of the “bridges that carried us over.” Too soon we forget those whom God called by name to bear a burden that too few of us could carry. Too soon we forget all those who have passed this way—who paved the way.

Copyright 2012 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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  1. avatar Tony Johnson says:

    If Dr. King was living today I wonder just how he would handle the injustice of the Trayvon Martin scenario?