Thursday 26 January 2017

Great Strides, Great Sacrifices

"Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle..." 
(Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Stride Toward Freedom:  The Montgomery Story)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. knew that if he were to make strides in his cause of Civil Rights, he would have to sacrifice.  His followers knew they would have to sacrifice.  For every gain there is a loss.  When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus in 1955, her stance sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  Rosa paid a price:  she spent a night in jail; she received so much scorn that she and her husband moved to Detroit about a year later.  But the boycott worked and in 1956, the busses were desegregated. (

David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and Ezell Blair Jr. knew they would have to sacrifice when they took their seats at a Greensboro lunch counter.  What they ordered was a cup of coffee and a donut; what they received was a peppering of hate by the surrounding crowd.  Their dignity was stretched to the limit.  But the Greensboro Four sparked sit ins in 55 other cities in 13 states.  Because of their stance, lunch counters became integrated across the country. (

James Peck knew that he would have to sacrifice when he joined the Freedom Riders in 1961.  A radical journalist, Peck was one of the white protesters campaigning for equal rights for blacks.  If racist whites treated blacks poorly, they treated whites even worse since they were considered traitors to their race.  At the Birmingham Trailways Bus Station, Peck and his fellow Freedom Riders were surrounded by an angry mob.  A riot broke out, led by the Ku Klux Klan, and Peck was beaten to within an inch of his life, sustaining severed injuries to his head and face.  Peck waited for an hour for an ambulance willing to take him to the all-white Carraway Methodist Hospital where they refused to treat him.  His price for supporting the Civil Rights cause was 53 stitches which he received at Jefferson Hillman Hospital.  In November of 1961, the interstate bussing laws changed allowing blacks and whites to sit together. (

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. paid the price in many ways for his Civil Rights movement.  He spent many nights in jail for his protests.  He paid the ultimate price with his life, gunned down by an assassin in 1968.  "Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle..."

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