Each April 4th I mourn a man I never knew, wondering what would have been had his life not been cut short by assassination. Martin Luther King, Jr., reverend, civil rights icon, and practitioner of non-violent protest, was gunned down at Memphis’ Lorraine Hotel in 1968. The then 38-year-old had made an indelible mark on the ethos, conscience, and better graces of America. Like so many figures of that time, he paid the cost of change with his life.
MLK Jr. is no Jesus. He’s not my Savior, but he has so profoundly affected the quality of my life because of the battles he chose to fight. I could not be educated, married, or employed in the same way had he and countless others not tirelessly and bravely fought for civil rights.