Standing on the shoulders of a giant – remembering Martin Luther King and the pastor taking on his mantle
Fifty years after Rev Dr Martin Luther King was gunned down, Rev Dr William Barber is calling for a renewed commitment to MLK’s ideals rather than mere remembrance.
In an interview with the Guardian, Rev Barber said, The only thing you can do with the assassination of a prophet to truly honour them is to reach down in the blood, pick up the baton and carry it the next mile of the way.
“It is not merely to preach the themes of Dr King – it is to live them out. So if at the end of his life he was organising poor people, that’s what we ought to be doing. If at the end of his life he was demanding a Marshall Plan for the poor, demanding living wages, demanding guaranteed income for the poor and disabled among us, demanding healthcare, and if he was willing to not only demand it from the pulpit but to get in the street with the poor then we should do no less than that, not just because it’s the 50th year of his assassination but because 50 years later we have 140 million poor people in this country.”
Dr King was robbed of the chance to deliver on his poor people’s campaign when he was assassinated on 4 April 1968 but Barber has created a similar campaign under the slogan a ‘national call for moral revival’. He is following in Martin Luther King’s footsteps, fighting for workers’ rights and the poor as well as against racism and inequality.
The UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings said, “Martin Luther King was a visionary and his work was left uncompleted by his untimely death. Rev Barber is standing on the shoulders of a giant. Martin Luther King’s last book was entitled ‘Where do we go from here?’, Rev Barber has the vision and courage to find a positive answer to that question by taking the fight to poverty and inequality in the United States and providing a global inspiration.”
UNI Global Union has invited Rev Dr Barber to speak at its World Congress in Liverpool in June.