Day 7: Remembering King

June 19th, 2021

Today was an incredibly moving day, as we began it at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. This was certainly the largest and most in-depth museum we had been to thus far. I appreciated the section dedicated to Black Power and the expansion of the celebration of Black culture throughout America. This exhibit was one we had not found elsewhere, and it is essential to have such spaces where children can learn to celebrate what is either their own culture, or the culture of their fellow Americans. Our later journey today took us from Memphis to Nashville, where we went to the National Museum of African American Music. This museum was dedicated to celebrating a critical component of black culture, and as someone who is not familiar with Gospel, Soul, R&B, or Rap, it was an eye-opening experience to see how African Americans have continually revolutionized American music. Music is an element of Black Power that the Lorraine Motel mentioned, but that the NMAAM brought to life.

But what was the most powerful exhibit today for me was at the Lorraine Motel. It was the re-created rooms where Martin Luther King Jr. stayed in the last hour of his life and the balcony with the exact spot where he was shot. I was only a few feet away from where he was killed. If it were not for the glass keeping me inside, I could have reached out and touched the pavement that once held a pool of his blood. The room had a plate of his dinner, an open carton of milk, and his open suitcase all modeled off of the crime scene pictures taken when he died.

There is something chilling to think that I was so close to the place of a brutal death of an incredible man. His Mountaintop speech, his final speech, always seemed to be divinely inspired to me. Although death was always looming over him, I have learned that Martin Luther King was never concerned about death. He often remarked he would not make it to 40, and he died at 39.

Martin Luther King’s acceptance of his own death was practically motivated, as the work to defeat white supremacy and inequality presented him with constant death threats, but it was a motivation of faith. King understood that as a Christian, death has already been defeated. But more importantly than that, God had prevailed over death, and God would continue to prevail in all things. God is a God of justice and will prevail even over white supremacy and bigotry. God is a God of liberation, taking the Israelites from Egypt, and will liberate people from economic and social inequality. King understood that his death would not be the end, as God would continue to prevail through the efforts of those who come after him.

I pray to continue the memory of King and all he did to bring social and economic equality. I pray for his wisdom from the Scripture, his oratory prowess, his dedication to non-violence, and his commitment to love. Equipped with those four things, I do believe that someone can change anything. For if someone acts with love and non-violence, surely, they will act on the side of God, who can do anything.

Matt Jenkins

One Response to “Day 7: Remembering King”

  1. Stop Smoking on March 11, 2023 05:12

    Stop Smoking

    Day 7: Remembering King at 2021 Civil Rights Tour

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