Monday Musings: The Cost

Educator Barnes’ sons at the Dr. King Monument – 2017

The cost of Dr. King’s work was death. Although I truly believe he should have a federal holiday, it is not lost on me that his life was taken at 39 years old. My husband is currently 39. I couldn’t imagine having to raise my boys on my own because their father’s life was taken all because he was fighting for a better world.

This is why we cannot settle for less than equal rights and equitable outcomes for all people across the globe. This passion should burn inside of all of us even if our family members are okay. We should care about our fellow brothers and sisters just as King did. 

In his last speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” which King gave the day before he was assassinated, he spoke about the internal drive that he and other protestors had that helped them to continue despite the water hoses, arrests, and violence again them. He said, “there was a certain kind of fire that no water could put out.” 

Later in that speech, King said, “Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness … The question is not, ‘If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?’” He asserted the question should be, ‘If I do not stop to help … what will happen to them?’”

We need to get back to the basics and understand what King was fighting for and striving to achieve. To do that, we need to read his speeches and watch the interviews he gave.

The reality is that even if we don’t fear that the cost is death, many of us are not willing to learn and engage in “dangerous unselfishness.” 

To learn more about King, read his speeches. Yes, “I Have a Dream” is a wonderful speech, but he said so much more during his 39 years of life that was ended too soon.

Dr. King Speeches

Beyond Vietnam

I Have a Dream

I’ve Been to the Mountaintop

Letter from Birmingham Jail

The Other America

Paul’s Letter to American Christians

The Quest for Peace and Justice


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