America trip

On the 4th day of April,
it will be 50 years
since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
bled and died in Memphis TN.
Last summer, my wife and I
traveled back to the South with a film crew
making a documentary for Dutch Television.
We visited Rev. Andrew Young in Atlanta.
We knew him from the Movement.
We went to the Ebenezer Baptist Church.
We talked with Martin Luther King III
in the sanctuary.
When I last talked to him,
he was a small boy
but he remembered me.
He even remembered the walkie talkies
I gave him and his little brother
after their father died.
The three of us
walked to the tomb
of Dr. King and Coretta Scout King,
Martin stood
and looked and talked
about how he couldn’t understand his father dying
and how it was even harder
for his little brother.
He spoke about his father’s funeral
and the loudspeakers
and his father’s voice
booming thru them
and how confused and sad it made him feel
to hear his father’s voice
and know he would not come home ever again.
Ironically, that resounding voice
that gave us Hope
made two young boys even sadder –
even more confused.
I read those immortal words
engraved on the tomb,
“Free at last, Free at last,
Thank God I am Free at last,”
I thought about how I felt so long ago.
How I didn’t think
Dr. King could die.
No one did,
except – maybe
Dr. King.!
The night before he bled and died, he said,
“I’ve been to the mountain top,
and I’ve seen the promised land.
I may not get there with you,
but I want you to know
that we, as a people
will get to the Promised Land.”
The campaign to end Segregation was successful.
The Voting Rights Act passed.

We were working on the Poor People’s Campaign.
We were making progress!
We were “Getting to the Promised Land!”
We all went to the chapel and prayed.
When I was getting my coat,
it was as if I heard Dr. King’s voice.
“It’s OK Harcourt.
It’s O.K.”
We flew to Atlanta the next day.
I went to the office.
There was a wreath on the door.
That’s when I really realized Dr. King was dead.
Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. “Daddy King”
preached the sermon the following Sunday.
“I am going on,” he said.
“I want to see what’s at the end of the road.”
Someone once asked me,
“Did you give up all hope?”
It was a strange idea ,
Yet, I could understand her feelings.
“You can kill the Dreamer,
but you can’t kill the Dream!”
No! I Did Not Give Up Hope.
We Did Not – and we Will Not
Give Up Hope!
Genesis says,
“Here comes this dreamer.”
“Come, now let us kill him….
and we will see what becomes of his dreams!”

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