I'm filled with a mix of emotions today, the final day of my Civil Rights journey. It will not be my last post because I'd really like to include some reflections a few days after I return...but there is a certain finality to today's post. I visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, a beautiful complex that includes a museum, Dr. King's boyhood home, final resting place, and the Ebenezer Baptist Church. It is a wonderful tribute to a special American, one of our greatest leaders of the past 100 years.
I was personally touched by the visit to Dr. King's boyhood home. Reading stories about how he liked to run around the backyard and play baseball in the street showed a personal side of Dr. King that I never thought about. He's always been a "larger than life" figure to me. Its quite amazing how the "stars aligned" and allowed for an eloquent leader to rise to national prominence. King himself noted the surprise he felt: "When I went to Montgomery, Alabama in 1954, I had not the slightest idea that I would later become involved in a crisis in which non-violent resistance would be applicable." Quite honestly, Dr. King's story immediately made me think of Malcolm Gladwell's newest book, Outliers. Special opportunities arose that were well-suited for Dr. King's extraordinary talents. This is not to say that Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn't an amazingly gifted American. He certainly was, but he also took advantage of an opportunity that fit perfectly with his talents.
Since I'll be leaving for home tomorrow, I thought a lot today about whether a CRM tour should start here or end here. By ending here, I don't want to give the impression that I believe the CRM ended when Dr. King died because it definitely didn't. I'm a firm believer that the CRM is an ongoing struggle that has manifested itself in many different ways throughout the World. It is no longer just a racial struggle, but a much broader one. I'm not one to use the term "civil right" lightly, but there are numerous issues today that many people believe are civil rights issues. Do you believe that marriage, adequate healthcare, and a good education are "civil" rights?
Thank you for joining me on such a wonderful journey. I really cannot put into words how thankful I am to the Eichenbrenner family for providing me with this opportunity of a lifetime.