We may have reached the “promise land” but the task ahead is daunting. Like our Biblical counterparts we find ourselves confronted by walled cities and giants.
Like many of you, I spent a good part of Tuesday morning (January 20, 2009) in front of the television set watching as Barack Obama was sworn in as the forty-fourth President of the United States, and the first African-American ever elected to our nation’s highest office. As I watched history being made, I couldn’t help but marvel at how far we have come as a nation. Growing up in the fifties and sixties I would have never believed it possible. I have vivid memories of segregation at its worst. For instance in Little Rock, Arkansas, Governor Orval Faubus dispatched the Arkansas National Guard to prevent nine black students from attending Central High School, forcing President Eisenhower to send Federal troops to enforce the law. In Birmingham, Alabama, Commissioner of Public Safety Eugene "Bull" Connor ordered police dogs and water hoses to be used against Civil Rights marchers including children. In Mississippi three Civil Rights workers were murdered by the Klan because they were trying to register Negro voters. And in Memphis, Tennessee, the leader of the Civil Rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated, setting off race riots in virtually every major city in the United States. That was the America of my youth and early adult years.
In the last speech Dr. King gave before he was killed he said, “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.”Category: January 2009