The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial opened in August 2011 in Washington DC. I did not see it in person until the summer of 2017. At first I thought, as I trudged (tired, hot, and hungry) along the path to the monument that it was very far removed from all the other monuments and museums along the Washington Mall. But when we got there, I could see that it needed to be removed.
It’s huge and spacious, and was thronged with visitors, even on that hot summer day. I kept waiting for a clear shot of the King statue so my three sons and husband could stand in front by themselves. I finally gave up on that plan. It seems everyone wanted a selfie with MLK.
On the side of the statue, these words are inscribed: Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.
That phrase is from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. He wrote that speech in August 1963 and delivered it at The March on Washington. The entire speech is moving, transcends mere eloquence and reaches into current events. You can read the entire thing here.
As I reflect and compare our day with Dr. King’s, I can still see “Alabama, with its vicious racists” and I still hear our government’s lips “dripping with the words of interposition and nullification”, but I (like King) cling to my faith. And hope that I can hew out that stone of hope from the mountain of despair.
I cling to that faith, like a weapon and a plowshare in the face of ignorance and hate.