Day 7 – As If He Knew

June 26th, 2021

This morning, we visited the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. The museum is located on the site of the former Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in April 1968. Towards the end of the museum gallery, we had the opportunity to walk by the room in which Dr. King was staying, with the balcony on which he was assassinated in full view. This was a very sobering experience. Recordings played of Dr. King’s final speech the day before, now coined his “mountaintop” speech. Throughout the speech, he makes several, seemingly-divinely inspired remarks that shockingly foreshadow his approaching assassination:

“Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, “If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the twentieth century, I will be happy.’”

“And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers? Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

Wow. I am sure that Dr. King would have done much more to foster racial equality had he remained alive that April day, but I sense from his speech that he knew his time was coming. How thankful I am that he did survive that long (especially after a stabbing several years earlier that almost killed him) and that he served as a light of Jesus as he led African Americans in this struggle for freedom.

Jane Mylin