King moved America and the world

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Celebrations throughout the land commemorated the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday. In Natchez, too, there were speeches and parades and lively programs to pay respect to a man who literally gave his life for what he believed, namely that all Americans should have equal opportunity.

King taught America about equality and civil rights. His speeches caught the imaginations and spoke to the hearts of black and white alike, rich and poor, Northerner and Southerner. It is fitting that we honor his legacy in a dignified but joyous manner.

&uot;We must love our white brothers,&uot; he told his followers. &uot;We must meet hate with love.&uot; He disarmed those who were hostile to him with his emphasis on peaceful protest and with kind words directed at the very ones who sought to disenfranchise him.

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His training as a Baptist minister influenced the way he thought, wrote and spoke. And, as one admirer said when asked about his teachings, &uot;He had faith rooted and grounded in the scriptures of the Bible, where he always had a listening ear and was reaching out to us, reaching out to the inner man to help the individual to find the greatness in himself and set him free. Š&uot;

And another who remembered King’s philosophy recalled the effective orator’s way of bringing all his listeners into his speeches. &uot;He made you feel uplifted, that we’re all in this together. Join hands, and let’s go. You get caught up in the spirit, and the spirit moves you.&uot;

Indeed, he moved America &045; and the world. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Four years later, in 1968, King was assassinated. He was 39 years old. In his all-too-short life, he gave his all for what he believed. And all of us are the benefactors.