Since the phones won't be ringing much during tomorrow's holiday, there should be ample time to reflect on the meaning of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and on his service to the nation.
Thousands, maybe millions, of Americans contributed to the civil rights revolution of the 1960s, a revolution that turned the law upside- down. One can ponder at length how one man, who lived only 39 years, turned his moral force and bravery into national leadership and became the symbol of America's escape from the immorality reflected in centuries of black oppression.
One can reflect, too, on the extent to which King's teachings of brotherly love find echoes today even in the midst of an unfavorable climate produced by a hostile administration. Were King's teachings in the heart of former Mississippi senator James Eastland when he recently wrote his lifetime opponent, Mississippi NAACP leader Aaron Henry, to say that "thousands of us have been helped by your gallant, dedicated, persistent leadership that has made recognition of a life that includes all mankind possible. I personally thank you for helping me see the whole picture"? Were his teachings in the heart of the Mississippians who named a Jackson boulevard after Medgar Evers, the NAACP executive director assassinated two dec? Were his teachings in the hearts of Virginians who voted a black man into the lieutenant governorship? And are even the Coors beer people changing their spots as they sponsor one of the Martin Luther King celebratory receptions?
There should also be time tomorrow to ponder the most compelling question of them all. As King persuaded the nation that discrimination and segregation were matters of morality far beyond usual political considerations, will some King disciple of whatever sex or color have the moral force and bravery to persuade the nation of the immorality of poverty and hunger and homelessness amid this country's wealth? Will his moral legacy turn the legal revolution he led into a practical revolution where all men and women share fairly in the abundance that is our heritage?