A Perspective on the King Funeral Speaches

Again, a letter from Altercation:

Name: Dr. Ken Bridges

Hometown: El Dorado, AR

As a historian, I cannothelp but be amused by the absolute shock of many commentators that some speakers took a political tone at Coretta Scott King's funeral. The Funeral Oration of Pericles during the Peloponnesian War is considered some of the finest oratory of the ancient age. Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was delivered at the dedication of a cemetery. Politics at funerals is nothing new. No, funerals in our society are not meant to make people feel comfortable. They are supposed to make you remember the life of the deceased and understand what that life meant to you. If Martin Luther King, Jr., were alive today, what would these conservative commentators be saying about him? Would they be quoting his great speeches or lauding his nonviolence? No, they would be questioning his sincerity and his effectiveness. They would be denouncing him as a radical and a hypocrite, just like they do with Jesse Jackson, Harry Belafonte, and the NAACP. The King Family endured criticism for years, but always turned the other cheek and pressed on with their work. But all of this criticism from conservatives, as usual, overlooks the real issues -- what was Coretta Scott King's life dedicated to? It was a life dedicated to civil rights and equal justice for everyone, poor and rich, black and white. Martin Luther King wrote in "Letter from Birmingham Jail" that his goal was to create tension, the kind of inner mental and spiritual tension that would lead to growth. We need that
kind of spiritual and intellectual growth today. It is time that we took the example of the Kings and rise above the dark shadows of fear and into the light of truth and moral courage. We could use the inspiration of King instad of the desperation of Bush.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a ridiculous piece! First of all, Belafonte, Jackson,and the modern NAACP couldnt hold a candle to King and his movement. Jackson is a coattail rider that has done more harm to the African American movement than good. Take a look at the president of the NAACP's comments on the republican party being like the nazi's, and it doesnt take long to understand that they have lost touch. Belafonte doesnt even deserve recognition with his hateful comments. Mr. Bridges then goes on to talk about the real issue being, "what was Coretta Scott Kings life dedicated to?" If Carter and Rev. Lowery would have stuck to that subject, we wouldnt be having this conversation. Furthermore, republicans on that stage did the distinguished thing and kept politics out of it. Personally, I think Clintons speech was the best and the most human of all the lot. And he is far from my favorite person!!!

Jack Straw