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Amelia Boynton Robinon

Amelia Boynton Robinson Statement for Martin Luther King Day

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LEESBURG, Jan. 14—Schiller Institute Vice Chairwomen Amelia Boynton Robinson Issued this Statement for Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 15, 2007

There is so much we can glean from the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King. His body has returned to dust but his legacy will live forever. He died for the principles of life that would free man’s very soul, the freedom that protects every man, woman, and child, the Constitutional rights. Dr. King went beyond that, by preaching freedom from hate and to love everybody, even your enemy. He emphasized the non-violent method that will unclog the mind of rage.

We are left on this Earth to live in peace with our brother/sister, who is every human being. This was a part of Dr. King’s dream for the world.

Keeping the dream alive will certainly make a better world in which to live. Dr. King died hoping that those who are living will not only dream of peace, but live it. Don’t talk about non-violence, but be an example; don’t sing about overcoming unless consciously you are going to try.

Jan. 2, 1965, Dr. King asked to go to the most humble parts of Selma, Alabama. I took him to restaurants where older and unemployed men were sitting around, playing checkers or just talking. When we left, these men followed. From each restaurant, men would follow. At all places, he would share with them the importance of being a free people.

Dr. King sent a young man to Selma, Bernard Lafayette, who was at Fisk University, who realized that his courses taken at the university did not give him a blueprint for everyday living, and Bernard gathered the youth of Selma to fight non-violently, contributing to the passing and signing of the Civil Rights Act, and wading through blood, sweat, and tears, we got the right to vote. No one living regretted the tragedy on Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, for it brought forth one of the greatest pieces of legislation since the making of the bylaws and signing of the Constitution. God bless the legacy of Dr. King and the sacrifices the youth made throughout this country.

I can remember, so clearly, when on the 50th Anniversary of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the president asked me go with the driver of the car to meet Dr. King, the main speaker, at the Philadelphia train station, and to ask him to speak against the Vietnam War. Intently, he listened, with his head down in silence for at least 30 seconds, and as he raised his head, he said, in a calm voice, "The time is not right yet to speak against the Vietnam War." He delivered a great speech, but never mentioned the war. But later, when he did speak of the war, he blasted the cruel, evil, unnecessary killing of babies, mothers, old people, and any human beings.

Another incident so vividly impressed upon my mind is in May of 1965, when I was given my alma mater’s highest honor, Tuskegee University’s "Merit Award." Dr. King delivered the commencement address. Afterward, we returned to Selma in the same car. There was so much improvement made in Montgomery since Dr. King moved to Atlanta, and as we approached the city, we stopped at a seemingly delayed, red traffic light. A car pulled up beside us and the driver (the only person in the car) stared with piercing eyes of hate at Dr. King, who was seated opposite the driver. We started off when the light changed, and at the next light, the same car drove very close, rolled his window down and seemingly made an attempt to pick up something. Immediately, our driver went through the red light, and the other car did likewise. We went down several streets, trying to lose him, which we finally did.

To me, this was a terrible experience, but Dr. King kept a cool head, saying God was not ready for him, and if He were, he was ready to go.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all feel that way?

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