Christian Heroes (Conclusion)

March 15, 2013

The Counseling Corner

Reverend-Judith-T-Lester-Pastorby Rev. Judith T. Lester, B.MIN. M.TH

This month we have highlighted Christian heroes that have dedicated their lives to the work of God as well as influenced the lives of our society. While there are plenty other men and women we could have singled out, space limitations prevented me from doing so. We owe gratitude to these and other Christians heroes who have helped the history of our country. We are indebted to Dave and Neta Jackson for their work in “Heroes in Black History,” which has been our inspiration this entire month. Last, but certainly not least, our final Christian hero, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was first of all a preacher, the son of a preacher and even the grandson of a preacher – all of them having served the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. Martin trained at Morehouse College in Atlanta and Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, PA; and he received his Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston University in 1955.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.Prior to that time, African Americans were denied equal rights in much of the South. In fact, there were laws known as “Jim Crow Laws” that prohibited them from mixing with white people.

They couldn’t eat in the same restaurants, drink from the same public water fountains, use the same rest rooms, or ride in the same part of the bus. Blacks were to sit in the back of the bus or even stand, while the more convenient seats near the front were reserved for whites.

Knowing such laws were unfair, many African American leaders were waiting for an opportunity to test their legality, confident that if the test case got to the United States Supreme Court, the bad laws would be overturned. The opportunity came on December 1, 1955 when Rosa Parks, a seamstress in Montgomery, AL, refused to move to the back of the bus when ordered to do so.

Black residents formed the Montgomery Improvement Association and elected Dr. King as its president and five days later launched a bus boycott in which the black people of Montgomery refused to ride the buses until the unfair laws were changed. Knowing Dr. King was a leader of the boycott, angry white separatists firebombed his home. Dr. King was arrested and convicted along with other boycott leaders on charges of conspiring to interfere with the bus company’s operations. Despite these attempts the Montgomery buses were desegregated in December 1956 after the U.S. Supreme Court declared Alabama’s segregation laws regarding public transportation unconstitutional.

Dr. King’s outstanding skills as preacher and his God-given courage elevated him to national leadership. Dr. King led many demonstrations calling attention to injustices. Slowly the laws and later even attitudes began to change. In August 1963 250,000 people gathered before the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., where Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.

For more than a dozen years Dr. King led the struggle for equal rights to all people until he was martyred on April 4, 1968, at the relatively young age of 39.

The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. Rather, the objective is strictly informative and educational. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.