The question came to me after two things that just happened. One is the removal (hopefully on a permanent basis) of Mr. Green as the chairperson of the SRC and the second is a bit of reading I have been doing in Taylor Branch’s “At Canaan’s Edge”.
Branch wrote about a sermon that Martin Luther King gave on December 10, 1967 at his first church (Dexter Avenue Baptist – pictured). Many things were not going well for King and the civil rights movement at this time. The Vietnam War raged and King suffered for his calls against the war. The civil rights movement in Chicago had provided many obstacles, and the SCLC was developing a march on Washington to deal with jobs and poverty relief. In his sermon that day King wanted to draw a clear distinction between hope and desire, between hope and optimism, and between hope and magical expectation. He did this by saying that “Genuine hope involves the recognition that what is hoped for is in some sense already present.”
This connected for me with the recent events happening regarding the SRC – Green’s removal as chairperson, the large infusion of people attending the SRC meetings to protest the granting of new charter applications, the growing coalitions of groups dedicated to saving public schools and insisting on fair funding, the mayoral campaign of Bill Kenney, and the council at large campaign of Helen Gym just to name a few events. For me, these events represent King’s idea that what is hoped for is already present.
A humorous aside to King’s sermon that day – as the congregation and he exited the church they found themselves observing a Klan rally on the steps of the Alabama state capitol. One of the Klansmen was parading around with a misspelled placard: “Our forefathers Got Us the Rights to Bare Arms.”
Yes folks, there is still hope for fair funding for public schools!