In the interview with Brian Ward, He talks about some reasons as to why King would travel all the way to Newcastle despite his busy life. One of the reasons that was given by Dr. Caison that Ward agreed with is that perhaps he just needed a change a scenery and that “there is something quite powerful for anyone about getting away.” King was facing an awful lot at the time of his invitation as well as his trip so perhaps he did agree to go because of this. This idea makes me think of something he said in his sermon “I See the Promised Land”:
Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, “If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the twentieth century, I will be happy” Now that’s a strange statement to make to make, because the world is all messed up. The nations is sick. Trouble is in the land. Confusion all around. That’s a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars.(280)
Before the quote he talks about how if he had to choose an age to live in he would stop by Egypt, Greece, the Roman Empire, the Renaissance, and more, but then go back to the second half of 20th century. To me this really symbolizes the idea of the power of getting away but also the idea of there being beauty in our lifetime even in the dark times. In the same sermon he also says “But not only that, we’ve got to strengthen black institutions”(283) The reason this sentence sticks out to me is because I feel like it something that is relevant to today. We just went over Public Re-Memory and I feel like this can relate to that. In order for the African American community to create a legacy for our descendants to remember, like those before us have done, we need to strengthen our institutions.
The most powerful thing to me that King said was in his sermon Where Do We Go From Here? “For through violence you may murder a murderer but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate. Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that” (249). There is a lot of violence and hatred in the world and if we want to get rid of it we have to start working towards a peaceful solution. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a hero not only for the role he played in the civil rights movement, Vietnam war, helping the poor, but for his nonviolent peaceful protest. If were to start practicing that again perhaps we could really achieve peace.
King, Martin Luther, Jr. A Testament of Hope: the Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. Edited by James Melvin Washington, HarperOne, 1991.