King’s Mission Endures

MLK Day Remarks at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia

The symbol of our great city is a bird, the phoenix, renown in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas for rising from its ashes.

So what a fitting symbol for our now-international city, once humbled by Sherman’s flames in the War that saved our nation.

And America, our great country, risen from Civil War ashes, before our very eyes is being reborn again.

So like the fabled bird, our wonderful city, and our changing nation, I stand before you–your reborn Congresswoman.

But that pales in comparison to the work of our Great wife and mother, Coretta Scott King, whose tireless struggle not only gave us leadership for a movement, but whose selflessness gave us this official day of celebration, at this Church, and at this Center that we truly love.

The pain, the shock, the grief and disappointment wrought by a sniper’s bullet soon yielded to mission, vision, purpose, and historical accuracy.

Dr. King’s mission, vision, and purpose must not be lost to the twists and turns of failing human memory. And so this celebration, conducted by this Family, preserves the intangible gift of historical accuracy.

President Aristide recently reminded us that before America’s own rebirth as a world power, it was to Haiti, then a potent force for black strength and pride, that America’s own slaves had to flee.

Slavery demeaned America, but it didn’t destroy her.

Sherman’s flames demeaned Atlanta, but they didn’t destroy her.

And I can attest to you today that nothing will destroy the legacy, the mission, accuracy or purpose of the King Family’s sacrifice unless we allow it to happen.

All over the world, Dr. King’s life is celebrated. Resident within this Family is a piece of America’s soul. This Church is America’s sacred ground.

So I can smile today, not fearing any challenge–no matter how brilliant the fire, or pallid the ash–I know that the thorn in my flesh is but a reminder that His Grace is sufficient for me; His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.