Today is the day the United States of America celebrates the birthday of my fellow American Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) I consider him to be an American prophet, a man calling America to live according to its noble ideals.
Today I learned that Martin Luther King recited a poem by my fellow American Langston Hughes (1902-1967). I am a great admirer of Langston Hughes, and thus I take multiple satisfactions from sharing this recitation.
What is this stair that we must climb?
The poem “Mother to Son” was first published in 1922 in The Crisis, a magazine dedicated to promoting civil rights in the United States , and was later collected in Hughes’s first book The Weary Blues (1926).
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
What must we strive to overcome?
What is this stair that we must climb?As I contemplate this poem, I think of some tasks human beings must accomplish:
It is necessary for people to develop the ability to reduce their attachment to their ethnicity. Instead, people need to think more about the success of the human family. If any ethnicity suffers, humanity suffers.
It is necessary for people to develop the ability to reframe crimes and offenses. I consider crimes and offenses as demonstrations of the absence of Knowledge. Knowledge, that deeper spiritual intelligence that God has placed in every person. I realize that some people did some awful things, but I might have done the same thing in that situation. You might have done the same thing.
It is necessary for people to develop an immunity to persuasion and manipulation. Anyone who can persuade me can enslave me. Anyone who can manipulate you can exploit you. I realize this will take some work, but Knowledge is immune to persuasion and manipulation.
I’m ok with there being some climbing ahead of me. I’m ok with difficulty. I’m working on being prepared to climb these stairs.
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