We hit up the continental breakfast again this morning. This time, Jordan and I knew to skip right to the bagels and orange juice. After breakfast, we checked out of the hotel, and headed over to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site and Ebenezer Church. I enjoyed watching hundreds of people stroll into church in their Easter Sunday best outfits. Little guys with suits and little gals with Easter dresses. Older women with bright green suits and big hats and older men with fancy shoes and suspenders. Ebenezer Church:
A building does not have to be beautiful for beautiful things to take place.
I was honestly surprised at how much emotion the MLK Jr. site stirred in me. I had learned about him in school like everyone else and did admire him, but last year I learned more about him and read his speeches and writings for an ethics class that I was taking. During this time, I came to appreciate his work in a much deeper way. Thus, I was anxious to see the historic site.
The site really includes a few blocks. We saw his birthplace down the street from the church.
A number of the homes nearby, historically housing blue collar African-Americans, have been well-preserved.
And we visited a museum, which contained his Grammy award (for best spoken-word recording), the key to his hotel room in Memphis (where he was assassinated), the suit he was wearing while stabbed in Harlem, and many of his other possessions. I felt impressed/challenged when I saw his Bible.
Mine does not look quite this used. Yet.
We saw his tomb, along with his wife’s, nearby. Here is where I first started to feel the weight of who this man was.
The actual visitors center was very moving. Video and audio clips were played, supplemented by photos and descriptions. Timelines of his life and Corretta Scott King’s life were presented. His last sermon at Ebenezer church, combined with his last speech, I’ve Been to the Mountaintop, are prophetic considering the timeline. In his last sermon, he talked of his funeral:
” And every now and then I think about my own death, and I think about my own funeral. And I don’t think of it in a morbid sense. Every now and then I ask myself, “What is it that I would want said?” And I leave the word to you this morning. If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. Every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize, that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards, that’s not important. Tell him not to mention where I went to school. I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.”
You can watch his last speech (not necessarily sermon) for yourself:
Maybe stuff you’ve read/watched before, but I think I could watch and read over and over and still be humbled. As we left the visitors center, we looked upon this amazing mural.
It was hard to transition after we left the site. Jordan and I left in silence, as we walked along the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.
Of course, I cannot keep silent for too long, and we needed to head to Alpharetta to meet our friends. We shared a wonderful Indian buffet for lunch and spent some time sitting in a nearby park afterward. As we caught up on the last three years of our lives, we watched families play kickball, children run happily to the ice cream truck, and inch worms move along the picnic table.
And one shot with yours truly:
So even though I had no eggs this Easter (Jordan may have had a couple eggs of the Cadbury variety), it was one of the most inspiring Easters I have had.
I hope you all had a joyful Easter.
Galations 5:13: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.