Of course he existed. Of that there can be no question. But was Martin Luther King not a mythic figure? Around him there has grown quite a bit of lore. He was swaddled in myth and legend from the very day he was born.
His namesake, Martin Luther, was a fantastic revolutionary who literally took hold of the Catholic religion and re-formed it with Protestant traditions. King followed suit cutting just as groundbreaking a path, and like Jesus took on the work of his father, Martin Luther King, Sr., whose full name he bore, being the junior like Christ was to his own Divine progenitor. And like Christ, he was a Savior dying like a sacrificial lamb in the 13th year of his national, yeah international, ministry.
The night before he left planet Earth, King foresaw his own demise. Christ-like in a Memphis auditorium that turned into his Garden of Gesthemane, he told his gathered followers, Moses-like, that they would get to the Promised Land, but he was not likely to be there, in the flesh, to enjoy it with them.
(Memphis, name of the capital of Egypt when the Israelites were held in bondage. Mephis, at the time King spoke, home to a man falsely claimed to be King of the music of the Black folk that held the nation in rhythmic sway.)
And after King was martyred, he became an American icon in every sense of the word, on the level of the Founding Fathers, Washington and Jefferson, and the Great Emancipator too. But in truth he stands much higher than these others. Though they proclaimed Liberty for All, they each had a number of terrible, unspoken qualifiers. King had none. He really meant all, and died for everyone.
America is the Promised Land, the big, fertile, resource rich rectangle in the center of the earth, where all God’s children come streaming from every corner of the globe. Truly, are not now the meek coming to inherit the world, in the wake of Martin Luther King, David-like, killing the Goliath, Jim Crow?
Nonetheless, we still live to a large extent under the nasty myth of white Supremacy. And like myths it is true to the extent that people believe it to be so. But there’s a countervailing myth in this, the “Home of the Brave,” that we are also the “Land of the Free.” And so, King’s legacy inspires us to do battle with the ghost of our dread Goliath of prejudice, that has long plagued this Promised Land.
Note, that though he was “King,” he was supremely humble, like the only Son of the Father. Martin Luther King willingly, gladly, gave his life to fulfill the prophecy of a “More Perfect Union.” But perfection, we’re told, cannot be had here on earth. Nonetheless, ‘tis a Divine consummation to be wished, to be sought and fought for, as we go forth energized and uplifted by the sparkling, sterling Myth of Martin, Martin Luther King, Martin Luther King, jr.! Hallelujah! ( Arthur Lewin, AfricaUnlimited.com )