If you love history, or if you feel vindicated by the social progress that our country has made over the recent decades, the funeral of Coretta Scott King was the kind of event that could bring back memories, instill confidence about the possibilities within each person of making a difference, and provide hope for the ongoing battles for equality that our nation is still fighting.
Huge national events like today’s six-hour funeral have a way of not only showcasing the leaders of our nation but also the soul of our better angels. If we did not know better, it would seem impossible to image the struggle that resulted from the desire of Americans wanting to obtain basic freedoms and rights that so many others took for granted. Today the old men and women who had fought with Coretta’s husband, Dr. King, were not bitter or harsh as they spoke of the past, or of the journey that is not yet completed. They spoke instead of bravery, fortitude, a solid relationship with family and God, and a consuming thirst for justice.
And they spoke about the dignity of a woman who picked up the pieces of a shattered life, but not a shattered faith, and marched on.
Some year’s back I ventured with true friends to Memphis and walked through the National Civil Rights Museum. A wonderful series of exhibits on the walking journey from the days when slaves first came to these shores, through the struggles of the 1960s, are all portrayed with honesty and excellence. Finally the tour ends outside the rooms that Martin Luther King stayed in, and the balcony where he stood and was killed in April 1968. The Lorraine Motel was the last stop on King’s fight for a better country.
Coretta would pick up the torch and carry on. One can’t even imagine what that must have demanded of some inner strength and conviction, but the lesson still echoes for us tonight. The job of equality for all Americans is not yet done, and the hopes and works by those who have passed before demand our involvement. If she could continue to fight in the face of what happened in Memphis, surely we can commit ourselves to the next steps in our progressive push forward as a country.Powered by Sidelines