The View from the Mountaintop
It would be cliché in the extreme and I couldn’t do it justice to try and write a retrospective of Dr. King’s life, work, and legacy. I don’t have the skill or the time to convey to the readers of this blog just how important that man’s works were. Whether you exalt him the way our parent’s and grandparent’s generations did, or recognize him as a flawed man and sometimes unfaithful husband, you cannot deny that Dr. King was the man. He was the man on the back of Black church fans. He was the man whose portrait hung on walls next to pictures of Black Jesus and now next to President Barack Obama.
For me, I felt Dr. King’s presence particularly when I was on the campus of Morehouse College, his alma mater. I didn’t only feel it in the large portraits I saw of him on his graduation day in the cafeteria. I felt it in the way I learned about my history and the history of Black Americans. I felt his presence every time I sat in a chapel that was named after him. I feel it now when I walk to the tidal basin section of the National Mall and gaze at his monument.
As my words fail me to convey the breadth of what Dr. King means to me as a Black man, I think his own words succeed. So that is what I leave you with. Many have heard of “The Mountaintop” speech. It’s the last recorded speech Dr. King gave before he was gunned down on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. You think you know it, but I am willing to bet you have never heard it in its entirety. Below is an audio excerpt.
On this site you can listen to the entire speech or, if you are at your cubicle at work, read the text of the speech: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkivebeentothemountaintop.htm
Think and reflect. He would have been 84 today.