Love is at the very essence of freedom It is the foundation of love, the desire to be loved, and the willingness for one’s humanity to experience love. In the navigation of love, and our yearning to be loved, honor and acknowledgement are part of the equation. Freedom is also synonymous with the yearning for one’s humanity to be embraced and loved. Yet, what is freedom? Does one’s ability to navigate through life, live comfortably, and experience a high-quality of living mean that another person must not have? Who determines who is worthy of living well? Of having the opportunities and access to life’s riches. Who decides if a person is considered worthy of having their chance to work their way, in acquiring the American Dream? And, where is love, in the midst of it all?
Love is a powerful thing. It is not solely relating to romantic love. There is also the love for one’s humanity, one’s society, and one’s country. It is based on having the power to change, and transform, from those experiences, which are not true reflections of love. Poverty. Hopelessness. Classism. Racism. Socio-economic injustices. Greed. Lack of resource distribution. Lack of education. Miseducation. Deceit. Exploitation of one’s political office for financial gain. Lies. Hunger. Sickness. Homelessness. The list goes on. When one no longer accepts such injustices and forms of hatred, love has the power to overcome, and change, such circumstances. Simultaneously, love does not always come peacefully. There are dangers to expressing love openly and to the publicly. There are dangers in fighting for love. And fighting, fiercely, at that. In fact, when fighting for such love, one also faces the grim reality, that one’s life can be loss in the process. Its a hard reality to address. There are many pills to be swallowed. However, once a person (or people) have decided that they are going to fight for love, there is no turning back. One simply has to accept the journey, ahead. And the fact remains that if one decides to take that authentic journey on love, then there must be the bracing of self. There will be stumbling, roadblocks, loneliness, betrayal, forgiveness, healing, the rebuilding of trust, and creating, anew.
Today’s celebration of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is one of many displays, in a national, communal, and international love story. Every year, on the third of each January, an international celebration takes place in Atlanta, Georgia, at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Not only was it one of many Black American churches for social activism, but it was also a place, where a legacy of King men, have served as pastors. Grandfather king-James Albert King to father king-Martin Luther King, Sr., , and to the Nobel Peace Prize winner, himself, the church serves as a treasure and safety net for the city of Atlanta, and the United States.
“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Of course, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not alone in his journey. For it was also Coretta Scott King, who stood next to him, on that journey with him. That’s the other half of the story, which often goes unrecognized, or unacknowledged. People forget, or don’t realize, that it was Coretta Scott King, who fought tirelessly to ensure that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day became a national holiday. With the efforts of Mrs. King and famed singer, Stevie Wonder, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was sign into law, by then-President Ronald Reagan, on January 18, 1983. Let’s not forget her continued efforts in managing the King Center, and keeping the memory of her husband’s legacy, alive. Throughout her life she worked tirelessly to defeat the evils of racism, sexism, apartheid, classism, poverty, and other -isms, which did not showcase the power of love. Then, there was that time when it was just she and Martin, living side-by-side, and navigating through the dangers of the hostilities of racism, in the United States. Just imagine doing this, while rearing four children; protecting them from death threats, church bombings, and firebombings of their home. Imagine having to stay true to one’s marriage convictions, while in the midst of FBI recordings, the rumors, and other initiatives conducted, in order to break up one’s family. And then, imagine the strength it took to stand in one’s husband’s place, after his assassination, in support of garbage workers in Memphis, Tennessee. This was the complementary energy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“When you are willing to make sacrifices for a great cause, you will never be alone.”Coretta Scott King
From the moment that they were married, they were in the movement. Love is what bound them together. There was no turning back. Coretta Scott said, “yes,” and the rest was her/history! It was true love. Not even death could separate their working together. Coretta Scott King continued to travel the world, speaking about love, and speaking on the solutions for love. Her work and continued activism was a continuation of their love story. Not even an assassination could separate them. That’s the power of true love! For even when one partner is not around, the work continues. That’s when you realize the authenticity of any love story. It carries on, even in the, here after.
This sacrificial love between Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. is a tell of love’s power for infinite wonder and change. It is telling in our ability to understand just how Divine and Universal their coupling was. She supported and shared his vision. Those silent nights when it was just them, together. The conveying of their fears, frustrations, exhaustion, and anticipating together. What was it like for Dr. King to know that his life would be taken? What was it like for Mrs. King to come to terms with the possibility, that she would have to rear her children, without her husband; carrying on the movement, without her spiritual complement? These are the things, we don’t know. The images when the cameras and media outlets were not looking. What does this mean? The naysayers and critics, who had so much to say. Yet, they would not take that same journey. In fact, they benefit from those very same choices and decisions, that were taken by the King Family. And yet, they had so much to say. So many did. If only they knew the story. If only they saw that side of the story. That’s something worth writing. Until then, let it be known that it was love, which kept the story going. A love story for the wellness of many! It was a love story for the wellness of a people, and a nation!
“It doesn’t matter how strong your opinions are. If you don’t use your power for positive change, you are, indeed, part of the problem.”Coretta Scott King
If it was not for Coretta Scott King, there would not have been a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; let alone a holiday for his memory. Scholars, writers, nor journalists cannot truly convey the story without the other. They may try. Yet, how authentic will it be? Not very. What should also be mentioned is how Coretta Scott King’s actions are representative of countless, Black American women-those heard and those whose stories we will never know-who risked their lives, families, and even occupations to support their communities in the struggle for liberties, within the United States of America. This too, must be addressed. For too often, it has been ignored. In fact, such lack of vigilance and acknowledgement is what Mrs. King addressed, during her time in the movement! Surely and slowly, that will have to be acknowledged by anyone, who comes to study the work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Soon, it will have to be part of the conversation, when discussing, this man.
Until then, we continue to tell the story. We speak this legacy of love-a loving legacy, in fact. For, it was no ordinary love. It was a love, and bond, which spread love and joy to many people within Black America’s gardens, US citizens, an d the world. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King were truly soul mates-Twin Flames, in fact. And when you are the complement of a flame, no water is able to extinguish is very power. It burns forever, and ever; crossing through various lifetimes, and meeting up again, in order to complete another mission. The flame of this love story continues to burn-even in Heaven’s gates. And, it will continue to do so, as long as, the story is told-for a love that never, fold!
For more information on the continued work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King, you may click on the links, below:
National Women’s History Museum: https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/coretta-scott-king