Monday, January 21, 2013

King’s Lessons Remain Relevant Today


On Monday, our nation will celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Our community’s celebration will be held at 7 p.m. in Viterbo University’s Fine Arts Center Main Theater. Everyone is welcome, as we invigorate our community spirit through music and fellowship.
Andre Johnson from the Memphis Theological Seminary will deliver the evening’s keynote address — “From a Dream to a Mountain Top and Beyond: Martin Luther King Jr. and the African American Prophetic Tradition.”
Johnson has researched and written about Henry McNeal Turner, who was an author himself, a civil rights activist, 12th bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the first black man to hold the position of chaplain in the U.S. Army.
For 12 years, Turner served as chancellor of Morris Brown University in Atlanta, but when the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Civil Rights Act of 1866 unconstitutional, he grew increasingly disillusioned by the racial discrimination blacks encountered in the United States.
Later in life, Turner advocated emigration to Africa as black Americans’ best hope for equality.
King’s leadership during the civil rights movement brought white Americans to accept black Americans as equal citizens in society. When King was murdered in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968, he wasn’t there to visit the Theological Seminary where Johnson teaches. Rather King was there to support workers’ demands for human dignity and fair compensation.
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