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Personal Reflections on the Life and Work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By: M. A. (Don) Biadog, Jr

Date Posted: 2000-01-22

On Wednesday 16 June 1999 I had a very unique and a dream-come- true-experience fulfilled when I set foot to a historic district of Atlanta - the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Park Service (NPS) Historic Site and the Preservation District. The 23-acre area comprises of the seventy-eight-year-old Gothic Revival structure - the Ebenezer Baptist Church, The King Center, The National Park Service Visitor Center, The Rosa Parks and Gandhi Rooms, The Reflecting Pool, The Eternal Flame, The Freedom and Exhibition Halls, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birth Home and Gravesite - all in one place. The National Historic Site, located a few minutes just southeast of metropolitan Atlanta, is also known as "Sweet Auburn" to the Atlantans. According to NPS, Auburn Avenue was the “main artery through one prosperous neighborhood which over the years had come to symbolize achievement for Atlanta’s black people. After the Civil War, former slaves bought property east of the city’s central district on what was then Wheat Street, a busy east-west thoroughfare. Many black entrepreneurs accumulated profits enough to build homes a little farther east, away from the marketplace.” I was blessed to be one of more than four million guests that visited the area last year.

The unusual summer time heavy downpour did not deter nor discourage me when I started driving from my Southern Baptist Convention hotel to locate and visit the "sacred ground" where one of my favorite Baptist preachers used to live and serve the Lord. I had heard, read Dr. King's writings, and led numerous commemorative National Birthday observances/services in the States and two overseas tours. I even had a rare opportunity to meet one of his fellow ministers, the Rev. E. V. Hill of Los Angeles, and one of Dr. King’s a personal friends and faithful member of Ebenezer Baptist Church. Doctor King’s life and servant leadership made an impact in my life and ministry. My personal visit on the place where he was born, served as co-pastor with his father, Reverend King, Sr., and beholding the memorabilia and reading the inscriptions on his crypt - FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST. THANK GOD ALMIGHTY. I’M FREE AT LAST - made a deeper impression and appreciation on the life and work of Dr. King. He was a man used by God in the right place at the right time (kairos time) in American history and the whole world. The place has left an indelible mark in spiritual life’s journey.

In retrospect, Doctor Martin Luther king, Jr. was inspired by the belief that love and peaceful protest could eliminate social injustice. He was one of the outstanding black leaders in the United States with a clear vision of the future and the courage to articulate it. He spoke of a dream of equality of opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, national origin, creed or religion. He aroused whites and blacks alike to protest racial discrimination, poverty, and war. A champion of nonviolent resistance to oppression, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Dr. King, just like you and me, was an “ordinary” man used by all-powerful God to accomplish “extraordinary” tasks for the benefit of mankind. May the message of peace and sacrificial services which Dr. King proclaimed and exemplified continue to touch the lives of American people and the peoples of the whole world.

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