What a phenomenal man Martin Luther King Jr. was. Each time I read his essays and sermons and speeches written fifty to sixty years ago, I marvel at his prescience, his forethought, his ability to inspire as well as be inspired. Asked to find a reading for my church’s 2020 MLK Jr. service, Dr. King’s sermon, “Birth of A New Nation”, called to me.
By the end of 1956 Dr. King had gained national attention because of the success of the Montgomery Bus boycott. In 1957 he, his wife Coretta Scott King and a number of prominent African Americans were invited to witness the independence ceremony of Ghana from Great Britain in March 1957. Moved to tears and joy by the experience, Dr. King went back to his congregation — the Dexter Avenue Baptist church — and in a sermon entitled “Birth of a New Nation”, told the history of Ghana’s struggle for independence and the personal history of its first prime minister, Kwame Nkrumah. Dr. King shared how Ghana’s non-violent ousting of the British intersected with their own fight against segregation. He told his congregation, “Ghana reminds us that freedom never comes on a silver platter.” He warned them to be ready to be spoken about badly, to possibly have their homes and their churches bombed because “freedom never comes easy. It comes through hard labor and it comes through toil” while also reminding them that the aftermath of nonviolence is the beloved community and redemption and reconciliation.
Reading as well as listening to this sermon provided a critique to my mind of many MLK Jr. services I’ve attended over the past thirty-seven years. So many gloss over the hardships Dr. King and those in the civil rights struggle endured but chose to face, so the world could be a better and more just place. Very few acknowledge, as Dr. King did, the connection shared by all struggles against oppression and the importance of making alliances, of fighting not only for your rights but the rights of others. Too often these services focus on the dream portion of his 1963 speech, but not on the bounced check that motivates the fight to make the dream come true.
I hope the portion of this sermon that I chose to share will inspire those attending our MLK Jr. service as the examples of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah shared by Dr. King inspired the members of the Dexter Avenue congregation. I hope after hearing his words and the songs we sing and the reflections shared, we’ll leave this year’s service with “We Shall Overcome” ringing in our ears, not as a wistful prayer but as a declaration to fight against the injustice anywhere that is a threat to justice everywhere.
May you all have an inspiring MLK Jr. Day, too.
Better To Marry Than To Burn
Freed Man seeking woman to partner in marriage for at least two years in the black township of Douglass, Texas. Must be willing and able to help establish a legacy. Marital relations as necessary. Love neither required nor sought.
She sidled up to him, cupped his erection and fondled his balls.
“Ready for bed or ready to bed me?”
He moaned, placed his hand atop hers and increased the pressure. Already hard, he hadn’t imagined he could get any harder.
“Is that beautiful brass bed new?”
He gulped. “Ye—yes. Bought it—bought it for the honeymoon.”
“I’m ready to be bedded now,” she whispered. “Or is that something we must negotiate?”
All thoughts of dinner vanished.
“No,” he rasped, leaning forward, as hungry for her lips as he was to be inside her.
“Good.” She stepped back, out of reach. “But, let’s be clear…” She bent over, so her butt protruded toward him. She massaged each buttock so her crack parted invitingly. “Tonight it’s the Greek way or no way.”
He blinked, stunned by this demand to be taken anally. His master had had books filled with drawings, depicting naked Greeks wrestling. Those pen and ink depictions flashed before him now. Arms constrained by arms, legs entwined with legs, butts and groins enmeshed in snug contortions. He’d love to take Queen that way, experience first- hand the erotic intimacy etched in the men’s struggle-laden features.
He took one step toward her then stopped. No. One day, he would…but not tonight. Not their first time. Their first time would be the nose-to-nose, chest-to-breast, cock-to-vagina coupling he’d hungered five years for.