Saturday, January 15, 2011

Memphis '68

The black motel where Martin Luther King stayed when in Memphis.  He was there on April 3, 1968 to speak to the 1300 black sanitation workers who were striking for equal treatment with the white workers.  The next day King was shot and killed while leaving his room.  As  leader of  the nonviolent-protest movement for black equality, and a defender of the natural rights of fellow humans, he is a hero of mine.
  I hold high standards for heroes: one must live a life of selfless dedication to others and their welfare over individual comfort; a hard life to live.  I guess mother Teresa would qualify as would Ghandi,  Doctors Without Borders, hospice volunteers, and a thousand others unknown to me but could qualify nonetheless -- you will know them when you feel their grace.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others."
-- Strength in Love (1963)   Martin Luther King Jr.-- A Baptist Minister

It might seem that he knew of his impending death since the speech the night before ended with these words:

"And then I got to Memphis.  And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
Well, I don't know what will happen now, we've got some difficult days ahead.  But it doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop and I don't mind.  Like anybody, I would like to live a long life.   Longevity has its place.  But I'm not concerned about that now.  I just want to do God's will,  and He's allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I've looked over.  And I've seen the promised land.  I may not get there with you.  But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.  And I'm happy tonight.  I'm not worried about anything.  I'm not fearing any man.  Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."     (see text of the complete speech)

On a lighter note, if you ever get to Memphis visit the Peabody Hotel downtown.  They have a group of ducks which are brought down daily on the elevator from their pen on the roof, to waddle over to the fountain in the lobby to spend the day.
  Ducks in Memphis, what a treat!

 I couldn't resist pictures of the ducks and fountain.  The black stone of the fountain is of one piece of travertine marble from Italy, installed in 1925.


  1. "They have a group of ducks which are brought down daily on the elevator from their pen on the roof, to waddle over to the fountain in the lobby to spend the day." - now how cool is that!
    Would like to have met Mr. King whose compassion and visions for mankind were most remarkable and beyond the ordinary.

  2. A great reflection and reminder, thanks. The ducks are very cool too.

  3. I have never seen a photo of the motel where Martin Luther King stayed in Memphis. I love the sentence..."you will know them when you feel their grace." How true...and wonderful...this is!

    There was a documentary on TV about the Peabody Ducks. I love how they live on the roof and get taken down by elevator to do their daily job! It must have reminded you of your ducks!!

  4. wow, the ducks are so cute!!!
    i have never been to USa let alone memphis...but if i do..ill surely try to visit this place...

  5. Martin Luther King is one of my major heroes also. We also share the same last name...King was my maiden name. His famous speech the day before his death was astounding. Do you think he "knew" and was ready? I do....

    "I'm not worried about anything for I have seen the promised land"..I'm not afraid, I have no fear"..and "I have a dream"...these thoughts he had and said are always with me...forever. It takes a lot of courage to think of others before yourself. I always felt those things he said the day before he died were for all of help us get through his death and to he knew he might be leaving this earth shortly. I have always strongly felt this deep in my heart. I put Martin up there with Ghandi and many of the others who risked themselves in order to help save us of our atrocities.

    Remember now have always encouraged me to not give up and now I say to you don't give up on the world right now. It will be the Chinese New Year of the "Metal Rabbit" on Feb. 3rd and they say it will be a much more peaceful year of people coming together more and learning the lessons from the tragedies, and we will be "awake" and not numb, angry or'll's coming...I am even seeing it now just in the last week or so. We have been given a chance and a lot of "food for thought" at this very point in time.

    "Expect a Miracle". I have this sign on my wall and am looking at it now.

    Love and Blessings and hope you are doing well,


  6. I like a world where we can find heroes and belief. Love those ducks. Good to see you 'out and about'! Speedy recovery-

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  8. Jesus, he knew didn't he? Maybe not that it was imminent but I guess in his position you always kind of expect it and you still keep doing what you're doing. Amazing.

  9. Icy: Indeed, and it always gives me shivers when I hear that speech to the sanitation workers the day before.