Tuesday, March 18, 2008

So Timely

Yesterday, while thinking about my junior class trip to the King Center, I went to the Center's website and saw excerpts from Dr. King's sermon, "The Drum Major Instinct." I found the full text in his papers. And there was something so timely about much of the sermon.

For example this southern/labor historian's heart jumped when she read Dr. King's analysis of the wages of whiteness:
The other day I was saying, I always try to do a little converting when I'm in jail. And when we were in jail in Birmingham the other day, the white wardens and all enjoyed coming around the cell to talk about the race problem. And they were showing us where we were so wrong demonstrating. And they were showing us where segregation was so right. And they were showing us where intermarriage was so wrong. So I would get to preaching, and we would get to talking—calmly, because they wanted to talk about it.

And then we got down one day to the point—that was the second or third day—to talk about where they lived, and how much they were earning. And when those brothers told me what they were earning, I said, "Now, you know what? You ought to be marching with us. [laughter] You're just as poor as Negroes." And I said, "You are put in the position of supporting your oppressor, because through prejudice and blindness, you fail to see that the same forces that oppress Negroes in American society oppress poor white people. (Yes) And all you are living on is the satisfaction of your skin being white, and the drum major instinct of thinking that you are somebody big because you are white. And you're so poor you can't send your children to school. You ought to be out here marching with every one of us every time we have a march."
And an encapsulated critique of the U.S. as warmonger:
God didn't call America to do what she's doing in the world now. God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war as the war in Vietnam. And we are criminals in that war. We’ve committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I'm going to continue to say it. And we won't stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation.
And a wonderful sentiment , one that I think shapes the spirituality of people like my mom and Quaker Dave, one that I'm working and struggling to live by:
And so Jesus gave us a new norm of greatness. Recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.... (I)t means that everybody can be great.... You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

Very relevant to what's going on today. VERY!!!

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...