King was uniquely positioned to lead so bold a challenge to the forces of America's economic and political status quo. Yet he knew the Poor People's Campaign would attract to him enemies more powerful than he'd faced before.
We know that the true Martin Luther King does not dwell in statues, in ghetto streets bearing his name, or in schools where children are violated daily in buildings erected in his name. His true spirit dwells with the least of these,
Dr. King also said, "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."
On April 3, 1968, Mike Cody was sitting in his Memphis law office when he got the call that Dr. Martin Luther King needed help. That phone call and the events that followed rocked the young lawyer and laid the foundation of values upon which he built his career.
As we observe Easter, and the crucifixion of three -- the two unknown men on Calvary and the one well-known man, Jesus himself -- we should also reflect and return to a more recent Calvary, where 45 years ago three crucifixions also occurred.
King went to Memphis, the city of his assassination, to preach that no job holder should live in poverty. Before the bullet struck him, he had joined striking sanitation workers to march for living wage jobs and a union contract.
Extreme statements are as protected under the First Amendment as any speech. And vitriolic rhetoric in American politics can be traced back to the earliest days of the republic. But that doesn't mean there are no consequences.
Last week, I had an opportunity to talk with Dr. Cornel West, a professor of Religion and African American studies at Princeton, about Obama's presidency and the marginalization of the Black political agenda.