He felt the suffering. He knew what needed to be done. He focused. He used his brilliant study of rhetoric to rally people on behalf of a common dream. He wrote arguably one of the most compelling essays of the 20th century – “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” an essential reminder of the difference between just and unjust laws (and an historical document drafted originally on the margins of a newspaper while he was in his cell). He had the voice and the integrity. He took risks.
“Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice.
Let us be dissatisfied until those who live on the outskirts of hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security.
Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heaps of history, and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home.” (“Where Do We Go From Here?” 1967)
We have a long way to go on some many fronts.
The sun rises over the mountaintop. So much is possible.
See you in the woods,
P.S. Thanks, Stevie Wonder, for helping us remember. -jbd