Harry W. Kendall
Imagine if you can, that you are Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You have reached a level of spiritual consciousness as leader of a monumental struggle for civil rights for underprivileged Americans. Your charisma and ability to attract world-wide attention and support against the atrocities of poverty and racism in America has earned the esteemed Nobel Peace Prize. As you progress further into the dungeon of American’s resistance to civil rights the American Christian and American Jewish religious hierarchies, once powerful allies, have all but turned away. Infighting among Black organizations vying for shares of federal dollars allocated to eradicating poverty is undermining your movement. Though indeed loved, you are also despised beyond belief, particularly by some powerful United States government officials. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, under J. Edgar Hoover has declared psychological war on you. That campaign has spread throughout the news media, and unsuspecting masses believe much of the propaganda. The FBI has conspired to embarrass you internationally unless you commit suicide, lest its truth, much of which is fabricated, be revealed. But neither it nor the minister-Judases, some scoundrels in your camp know zero about the separation of human foibles from spiritual authority within the same body. And worse, governing officials unleash Mongoose, Assassination Conspiracy Inc. The only unknown about your assassination is when; you suspect sooner than later and proclaim, “I am not afraid of the FBI. I am not fearing any man. I have been to the mountain top (the highest level of spiritual consciousness) and looked over into the Promised Land.” Nobody knows what that look revealed, except you. The words of world renowned Poet Laureate, Maya Angelou, “yet I rise,” articulates the persona that enshrines you.
Historians and writers have recounted and theorized on Dr. King, basing their conclusions on differing aspects of America’s chaotic history. Researchers chronicled the eras of this struggle for justice as they unfolded. Slavery, the first era needs no clarification, though it was not a period of absolute hopelessness. The era of emancipation was a period of terror and lynching (bigot-mob savagery) and share cropping. This equated to legalized denial of human-rights, and adaptation of force-fed Christianity to feed deprived souls. Emancipation brought on the third era—the industrial revolution and mass migration from plantation to city slums for paying work. Deplorable conditions and the rising level of moral consciousness among the mistreated ushered in the fourth era of civil rights. Civil rights was a period of confrontation and legislation against the status quo’s rising tide of hate, and backlash. It was protesting the status quo and agitation; a progressive mentality challenging a conservative one. It created awareness, but not a mutually shared willingness and acceptance to change. This was the door to integration that Rev. Dr. King approached alone, battle-weary, and betrayed when he was gunned down in 1968.
Forty years later President Barak Obama became this nation’s forty-fourth president. Doubtful that would have happened if the Civil Rights Movement had not reached that threshold, even though full integration has not been achieved. What is the downside of failed integration? Increased hostility and mistrust. The majority hater harbors guilt, the key ingredient of fear. The hated move about getting angrier but no longer fearful victims. The nation’s division into several distinct camps increases; demanders of equal liberty and justice versus gun slinging racists preoccupied with yearnings for the good old days. In this age of gun-lobbying, and law enforcement agitation, Almighty God, help us!