By D. L. White

If he was alive today, Dr. King would be preparing to celebrate his birthday on Jan. 15. He would be turning a ripe 94 years old.

Born Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Ga., Dr. King were he alive today, would absolutely still make appearances and speak truth to power as it relates to the injustices being waged against his people in particular and all disenfranchised people in general, if his health allowed.

In the short time he was active and alive on this earth Dr. King was quite impactful. What would or could he have achieved if he had the lived into his golden years?

A man of peace, a man who preached the promise of a better tomorrow, a man that knew and experienced the immense pressure of a divided society as well as explicit racism at its most fervent level, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, more than anything was a man of great faith.

It was that faith that sustained Dr. King during the tumultuous Civil Rights battles of the 50s including the Montgomery Bus Boycott; Encounters with racist Jim Crow State Troopers and Sheriff Bull Conner as well as then separatist Alabama governor George Wallace.

Dr. King and those of his era defeated Jim Crow in the legal sense; he was also victorious in the Bus Boycott. Through their persistence even racist Bull Conner and the Alabama State Troopers had to tip their hats to Dr. King and the mem- bers of the civil rights campaigns throughout the South.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at a June 8, 1964, press conference for his book ‘Why We Can’t Wait’ (Harper&Row, July 1964) – an important part of the effort to make the civil rights struggle known to national and international audiences. King traveled to promote the book, while also still involved in the St. Augustine (Florida) Movement. The book, about the nonviolent movement against racial segregation in the United States, specifically highlights the 1963 Birmingham campaign. The book describes 1963 as a landmark year in the civil rights movement, and as the beginning of America’s “Negro Revolution.” The seed of the book is King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” which gained national attention.

Eloquent and loquacious, Dr. King prophesied on April 3, 1968, the night before he was killed, “I just want to do God’s will, He has allowed me to go up to the mountain, and I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I might not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.”

America is again facing difficult times, the majority of which have been self-inflicted by a callous and often unrelenting GOP that neither want to compromise nor work through difficult issues that impact all Americans.

After regaining the House during the 2022 mid-term elections, the GOP is perched to offer no real solutions to the ills facing the US as the dawn of a new year unfolds. This begs the question, “Could Dr. King’s influence have caused the GOP to work across the aisle and put Joe and Jane Public first and not themselves.

Could a 94-year-old Dr. King who had traveled extensively during his prime and no doubt continued to travel domestically as well as internationally to address issues of unrest, conflict and war to assist those being oppressed, marginalized and dehumanized still possess enough energy, to address the issues of the 21st century?

The immediate response is of course Dr. King could and would have attempted to work with world leaders and the Republican Party in the halls of justice. He would have been utterly upset and even embarrassed by the actions of the Jan. 6 insurrectionists.

Dr. King would have attempted to meet and confer, with the Freedom Caucus the ultra conservative group that appear to be about stalling and blocking legislation instead of working for positive resolves.

Dr. King in his infinite wisdom would have challenged the GOP leadership by suggesting, “Courage faces fear and thereby masters it. Cowardice represses fear and is there-by mastered by it. Courageous men never lose the zest for living even though their life situation is zestless.

“We must constantly build dykes of courage to hold back the flood of fear. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Facing threatening phone calls and actual threats on his life. Dr. King recalled entering into intercession and asking for help to protect his family: “I can’t face this alone; I can’t put my family through this.”

Bowing his head in silent prayer. Dr. King reported a feeling a burden had been lifted from him and perceiving the glow of a bright light and a new level of resilience. A challenge no doubt. However, Dr. King – even at 94 – would welcome the challenge and would have been up to go the distance all the while keep- ing his eyes on the prize.

In his own words, Dr. King stated: “Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.”

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