Monday, January 19, 2009
I really did march with Martin Luther King in Boston against school segregation. I was a high school senior and a friend and I cut school to go in town. While I did not fully understand the importance of the event when we decided to march, it did not take long to get caught up with the energy and emotion of the day. Boston Common was electric. The air was filled with prayer, song and chant. While most who attended were African-Americans, we felt no ill ease or apprehension. We were welcomed as fellow souls standing up for freedom and justice. Race was not an issue, at least not for those who were there to march.
Then the magic moment came. We were walking on the outer edge of the march when we spotted Martin Luther King. As his line of marchers, arms locked in brotherhood, caught up with us, we jumped and for one brief moment, stood shoulder to shoulder with Rev. King. We were soon crowded out, but we nonetheless, had the experience. We listened to his speech at the rally and I can honestly say that I was fundamentally changed.
Soon, all of my heroes were dead; John, Bobby and Martin. I watched Washington D.C go up in flames when Rev. King was shot. I was in college at the time at The American University in D.C. As we all know, Martin Luther king “had a dream.” That dream was a seed planted in the souls of those who would listen. That seed is about to flower-maybe. President Obama is not the flower, but rather a petal upon the rose. He is not the dream made manifest. It is all of us who must make that ‘dream’ a reality. It is all of us who must create the rose in which we all share in the land of “milk and honey.”
This is what I learned from Martin Luther King; to manifest the dream, we do not follow a leader, we walk arm-in-arm with the leader.