I'm currently in Washington for a Bread for the World conference and to meet with some friends who played a role in The Jesus Agenda. But my first day in the great city was spent sightseeing. I was keen to make my first spot a visit to the most recent addition to the constellation of American heroes scattered around the Capitol. It's the new monument to Martin Luther King Jnr erected last year. And I wasn't the only devotee: the place was heaving with people of all sizes, and cultural guises...
King's great stature as a civil rights preacher has brought his memorial between the towering figures of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington and a bus stop away from Thomas Jefferson on the hop-on-hop-off tourist bus. And everything about it was about what
he said. The statue itself - a graciously defiant pose with a scroll in hand - is a statement about his statements: 'A stone of hope from a mountain of despair.' His words had always meant a great deal to me so even before stopping to admire the sculpture itself, I was drawn to the collection of famous statements he had made which adorned the site. I knew most of them but there was one which jumped out at me because it demonstrated the extent to which King preceded the political landscape in expressing his concerns for what was later to become the central tenets of the human rights and extreme poverty eradication before they became politically fashionable. In a 1964 speech in Norway, he said this:
"I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits."
It was a signal reminder of the impact he made on so many so long ago and a reason why he deserves to take pride of place in the Capitol.
- 02/08/2012 12:51 - Counting UP to 2015
- 19/07/2012 09:15 - They shall be called the Children of God - even if they're not Christians!
- 06/07/2012 21:06 - A hope-filled 3 days
- 27/06/2012 14:48 - Peace in Ireland - Let's shake on it!
- 13/06/2012 09:29 - Principles on Capitol Hill