Now that we have moved beyond another Martin Luther King Observance, the first celebrated with the presence of the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, I invite you to join me in what will be a re-reading for some of us, and a first time reading for others of us. The Read: MARTIN LUTHER KING: THE INCONVENIENT HERO by Vincent Harding, (Orbis Books, 1996, revised edition 2008).
This book provides a number of informative, prophetic and soul, heart and mind-stretching essays that serve as a counterpoint to the poem of Carl Wendell Himes, that Dr. Harding includes within the book:
Now that he is safely dead, Let us praise him and build monuments to his glory and sing hosannas to his name.
Dead men make such convenient heroes. They cannot rise to challenge the images we would fashion from their lives.
And besides, it is easier to build monuments, than to make a better world.
And after re-reading the book, rather than immediately moving to a pointing of a finger at others, I will remember that when I do that, I am pointing 3 fingers at myself. These moments will not be well served in memory of Dr. King if we fail to acknowledge that each one of us, must join others of us, no matter how different may be their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or politics from ours. "A better world" requires all of us to contribute to its making, by discovering and then living, the best that is within us.