Home Featured Trayvon Martin, MLK and The Mountaintop 44 Years Later

Trayvon Martin, MLK and The Mountaintop 44 Years Later

5
"Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory ..."

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated forty four years ago today. The day before his assassination he gave what would become known as the “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” Speech. Next to his Letters from a Birmingham Jail these have always been my favorite words of his. The last 3 minutes sends chills up my spine every time I watch it.

What’s always touched me about this speech was the subtle prophecy we hear in Dr. King’s words and tone. It feels like the end is near, like something terrible is on the horizon. Still, there’s also a hope and contentment in his voice. One that let’s you know he’s secure in his faith, secure in what he’s dedicated his life to, and secure in where he’s headed next.

Forty Four years have gone by since they killed Martin. Forty Four. More years than I’ve been on this Earth yet, still so much of what was wrong with our country then is still wrong with our country today. Sure, we’ve made progress, some if it obvious, some of it not so obvious. But still, at our country’s foundation, at the heart of everything America is supposed to be about is the concept of Equality of Opportunity. The idea that, for the citizens of our country, anything is possible. But that’s not the case. Privilege, in its various forms, still trumps equality. Until that changes our country will never be the country Dr. King hoped it would be–the same country Jefferson and Washington and all those other revolutionaries fought for.



It’s hard not to think about Trayvon today. Dr. King’s assassination scarred the already scarred tissue of our country. It left this huge, gaping gash right near our nation’s heart. In the years after, we bandaged the scar and tried to move on. As legal, overt racism continued its slow death, we used the patchwork fabric of integration, Affirmative Action, and political correctness to cover our scar. But as other more pervasive villains, like crack and AIDS and institutional racism continued to eat away at that patchwork fabric we still never really looked underneath to see what became of our great excrescence. Race relations seemed to get better. We put a couple black men at the top of few Fortune 500 companies. We put a black man in the White House and all of a sudden we started throwing around phrases like “Post-Racial.”

See Also:  It’s Never Ok to Compliment a Woman

But then George Zimmerman, a self-described “White Hispanic” killed Trayvon Martin. And with Trayvon’s death, we’ve finally gone ahead and ripped off the fabric, peeled back the bandage and really examined our scar. And though I’m disappointed, I’m not shocked or even surprised to find that it hasn’t healed, it hasn’t even scabbed. The hard truth we must all face is the reality that our nation’s biggest scar, the scar of racism in all its forms and iterations, has actually festered.

Later today, Dr. J is going to be sharing his own personal reflections on MLK, but in the meantime, do yourself a favor and take 20 minutes to listen to this speech, remember Dr. King and think about whether we’ve really come that far as a people and as a country.

And then I got into 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 really 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!

So 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.

[email protected] | Twitter: @MrSpradley

Comment(5)

  1. This post rings true, and I hope more people discuss it. If any good at all were to come out of Trayvon's senseless death, is that we no longer have to tolerate the subtle & not-so-subtle forms of, "You've got a President, isn't that enough?"
    Because it isn't.
    The only person who has really benefited from having a black man in the White House is the Black Man IN the White House. It has not stopped potential employers from telling me "we are looking for a 'face' for the company, a specific 'FIT', someone who 'blends in with our CULTURE" (as I look around & see nary a spot of color in sight). It has not stopped my mother from being priced out of the neighborhood she lived in for almost 20 years. It hasn't stopped the hopelessnes that causes us to use drugs and kill our own. And it certainly didn't stop incidents like Trayvon's and Howard Morgan.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/03/howard-m

  2. This post rings true, and I hope more people discuss it. If any good at all were to come out of Trayvon's senseless death, is that we no longer have to tolerate the subtle & not-so-subtle forms of, "You've got a President, isn't that enough?"
    Because it isn't.
    The only person who has really benefited from having a black man in the White House is the Black Man IN the White House. It has not stopped potential employers from telling me "we are looking for a 'face' for the company, a specific 'FIT', someone who 'blends in with our CULTURE" (as I look around & see nary a spot of color in sight). It has not stopped my mother from being priced out of the neighborhood she lived in for almost 20 years. It hasn't stopped the hopelessnes that causes us to use drugs and kill our own. And it certainly didn't stop incidents like Trayvon's and Howard Morgan.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/03/howard-m

  3. I don't know if there is a solution. America is one of the few countries where the enslaved were allowed to live amongst their captors after being freed. We didn't get an Israel, or a South Asia. We are barely a few generations away from it, and we are told to 'get over it' daily. I don't know if we ever grieved, or moved on, from the mentality as a whole. There are just as many questions we have to ask ourselves as we do the 'institution'.

  4. Great post Sprad. I think the solution lies within us. The change starts with us, and we have to be the change we want to see.
    Even though we were freed from physical slavery centuries ago unfortunately we are still very much mentally enslaved. In fact I feel like the U.S. is full of folks who are mentally enslaved….white, black, hispanic, asian, and many other folks that come here from other countries. Once they start to become "Americanized" the mental slavery begins. I think as a country we have started to worship money and material possessions and some will kill for and die for power.
    What I love about MLK's speech is how prophetic it was and the hope that he had. I liken it to the type of speech Christ would give before being crucified on the cross.
    With all that was going on at that time, all the hatred, bigotry, and blatant horrific racism MLK still had hope. When I listen to that speech, no matter how despondent and bleak things look, it gives me hope.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get SBM Delivered

Get SBM Delivered

Single Black Male provides dating and relationship
advice for today's single looking for love

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This