A Lesson From My Mom on Martin Luther King Jr Day

As I celebrate the life of and lessons from Martin Luther King, Jr today, January 17, I am also thinking about my mom, whose 5th anniversary of her death is in two days, January 19 (I can’t believe it’s been 5 years). In the last 10 years of her life she and I had several conversations about social justice, as I was growing ever more passionate about the marginalized and justice issues. She expressed more times than I can count her regret over not participating in the march from Selma to Montgomery, March 7, 1965.

Her regret was deep, sincere, palpable.

In March of 1965 mom was a 31 year old mother of two daughters, ages 12 and 2, and one son, me, age 8, and a busy pastor’s wife of a growing Southern Baptist Church – which is a full-time, unpaid job. It’s understandable that she did not, could not, march.

“Phillip,” mom said to me, “I did not march. You can.”

Mom left me with a resolve to have no regrets…to do what I can to create a world driven by love and justice for all.

In response to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech of August 28, 1963, Billy Graham said, “Only when Christ comes again will the little white children of Alabama walk hand in hand with little black children.”

Talk about a dream killer. If that’s true, why march? Let’s just sit and wait.

Mom didn’t believe that to be true. I don’t either.

I dream for a just, loving world. I will work to make the dream come true.

No regrets.

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