“I have a dream my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King
One day I had a Dream, a vision of the world He desired, inspired by the Lord, with the Promise that if I stayed strong, took up my cross, and followed Him, He would make it come true. This vision became my Passion, my calling, my mission in the world.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” – Proverbs 16:3
After Alabama decreed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was illegal, Reverend Shuttlesworth founded the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights to continue our quest. While meeting in Old Sardis Baptist Church in 1959, a graduate student from Ohio compiled statistics of our group. 70% of us claimed to be Americans first, then Negro. ½ of us attended weekly mass services, and 80% favored non-violent means. To her stats, she added a comment. “I try to think of myself first as an American, but usually not a day passes that I am not somehow reminded that I am first a Negro.”
“Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud. Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.” – Proverbs 16:19-20
We marched, enduring beatings and hardships; Congregated in prayer, succumbing to batons and dogs of Alabama State Troopers, spending nights on end on jail cell floors, calling for non-violence even as dynamite struck our doorsteps – so that one day you would live in a land that judged you only by the content of your character. We could wait no longer.
“When you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: ‘ Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?’ When you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness’ then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.” – MLK, Letter from Birmingham Jail
My brothers and sisters, my Dream today is that We would realize that these inner fears and outer resentments, this degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness’ is a yoke we are meant to cast off! By God, I know this to be True.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
Brothers and sisters, you who now attend desegregated schools, walking freely in a land where Funtown welcomes your children, who march unopposed to Capitol buildings, having no fear of dynamite in your neighborhood churches, I ask you today, what is your Dream? What nation did you hope to create?
“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. – Proverbs 6:6-11
Be humble, contrite, serving those around you. Obtain your diploma, refrain from drug abuse, attend weekly mass service, marry under God before bringing children into this world, raise them in His ways, run from the adulteress, avoid groups of fools; Seek Wisdom.
“My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them. If they say, ‘Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul; let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; cast lots with us; we will all share the loot’ – My son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood. How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it! These men lie in wait for their own blood, ambushing only themselves! Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.” – Proverbs 1:8-19
Seek the Lord first. Have faith He will provide for you, and all these things will be given unto you. Accept that you are a child of God, embrace His Grace, respond to His calling, and Be Good.
“Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” – Psalm 97:10
America, land that I love, today I give you my children, strong in character, steadfast in determination, sober in mind, and kind in heart. Treat them as your own, for indeed they are.
“Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you – when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord. Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” – Proverbs 1:23-33
Yours in Faith.
“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” – Martin Luther King